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The Early Development of the Polis: Boundaries, Balance, and Unification Master’s Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Brandeis University Department of Classical Studies Cheryl Walker, Advisor

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Master’s Degree by Justin Villet

May 2011


The Early Development of the Polis: Boundaries, Balance, and Unification A thesis presented to the Department of Classical Studies

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Brandeis University Waltham, Massachusetts By Justin Villet

The polis is a unique ancient entity which most scholars argue about. What is it? How can we define it? How did it start? What sources are valid? Is it constant in different time periods? The polis, a newer and larger version of the oikos, is a settlement structure that is not fixed in its government or size. There are hundreds of poleis and they are located all over ancient Greece. The creation of the polis did not rely, as some scholars might argue, on any one factor but stability between many. The one thing that remains a constant between all poleis is “balance”. The polis represents a figurative and literal (in the case of physical structures) fulcrum that balances external and internal influences in order to facilitate growth and development. Physical structures, such as walls, extra-urban and urban sanctuaries, and harbors, create protection for the polis and its citizenry while also connecting them to local and foreign entities. Procedural laws, which were public


and formal, create an equality between different levels of the citizenry while maintaining power for wealthy families. Early poetry of the Archaic period, archaeological surveys of the Bronze Age to the Classical period, Classical histories, and linguistic theories describe how the polis first began, what ideologies were initially emphasized, and how the polis, both physically and theoretically, interacted with other ancient entities. There are four types of poleis which corresponded to different time periods and definitions: “Homeric”, Archaic, Classical, and Aristotelian. Case studies of Athens, Corinth, Thebes, and Sparta illustrate a similar early development, but each maintains different governments. The polis is a textual, linguistic, physical and philosophical entity which has intrigued scholars for decades. It is only through a better understanding of its early development and concept of “balance,” as well as a comprehensive discussion of contemporary scholarship, that we will be able to fully comprehend and define a polis.



................................................6 Early Law ...............................................................................26 Mythology: Olympus as a Model ....................................................................................................................................69 Chapter 3: Case Studies ...............................................83 Sparta: The Outlier ............................................................................................................58 Colonization ...............................................................................................................................................................................1 Methodology and Types of Poleis ..............................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Introduction .................37 Chapter 2: Theories ................................................71 Athens .....................................80 Seven-Gated Thebes ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................72 Corinth .111 Herodotus and the Persian Wars ...........................125 IV ............................................................................................................................................................89 Chapter 4: Destruction and New Definitions ...............................................................111 Thucydides .....................................................................48 Balance................................................................................................................................................................................48 Sanctuaries and Boundaries .........................................122 Bibliography .........................................................64 Hoplite Tactics ............................................114 Chapter 5: Conclusions ............................................................................................................

......................................................................................Appendix A ......................................134 V ..................................132 Appendix B ...................................................................

but that does not mean that historians will (or can) stop theorizing. (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 3 The polis. P. “Oligarchy and Oligarchs in Ancient Greece.” Tufts University. Unfortunately.chronological and cultural blank. dark to us not least because it was illiterate…but also dark objectively speaking. or because it does not deal with technical or vocabulary discussions. The underpinnings of these theories are difficult to solve with generalities. xxi on a definition of the ‘Dark Age’: “Between the latest Mycenaean material and the adoption of the alphabet lay a four-century-long hiatus. If the Greek is not provided. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. archaeology. and.C. modern scholars tend to see things introspectively. in the sense that there were many fewer settlements. Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities (Oxford: Oxford University Press. A discussion of how different facets of seventh and sixth century The Greek in this paper is provided by Tufts University’s Perseus Digital Library unless otherwise noted (see citation below).” 1 1 .”. we are “captives of our own conceptual framework. 2009). I use a translation. The question of how the polis began has been a matter of contention among historians for decades. 1200-700 B. history. I am the translator.” in Polis and Politics: Studies in Ancient Greek History. 2010. usually because an excerpt is merely chronological. Crane. Citadel to City-State: The Transformation of Greece. 2 Martin Ostwald. When the actual Greek is provided. more widely scattered and technologically impoverished. however. Please see footnotes for details on translators. 3 Carol Thomas & Craig Conant. with much smaller populations. historians are attracted to mysterious and eccentric concepts in ancient history. has clues to its origins in edit. perseus. and linguistics. as Martin Ostwald states.Chapter One Introduction 1 As a rule. Flensted-Jensen et al.tufts. http://www.” 2 The rise of the polis as the predominant social structure at the end of post-Mycenaean (Dark Age) period is an enigmatic and difficult entity to discuss.E. “Perseus Digital Library Project. 1999). Gregory R. Paul Cartledge. 30: “There ensued from the eleventh century to the ninth BCE something of a Greek ‘Dark’ age. 2000). Last Modified October 22. 387. edit.

a single national territory under one sovereign rule. 2002). The World of Odysseus (New York: The New York Review of Books. Finally. while some. Next. be defined. I argue that the polis is a fulcrum that balances external and internal influences in order to facilitate growth. such as walls. and some Greek-settled areas around the Mediterranean Sea. sanctuaries and harbors. according to John Camp II. as well as social and governmental entities which allowed for an adhesion to the state. such as the building of protective walls and harbors. it refers to the ancient region of Hellas. “know them when they see them”. 15. presenting various inconsistencies and possible problems. or modern (for the most part) Greece. shaped symmetry among the citizenry in order to create a semblance of equality among the many groups of a polis. facilitated the rise of the polis is essential to understand any definition. Procedural laws. its physical development. called Greece (or any synonym for Greece). 4 I have tried to avoid the challenging and obviously thorny question of “What is a polis?”.” M. it should not be confused with any kind of overarching system of governing. Physical structures. created a metaphorical and literal equilibrium in which the polis was able to form. While Chester Starr might disagree with this procedure. “Neither then [Herodotean] nor at any other time in the ancient world was there a nation. I intend to argue that. somehow. Whenever the term “Greece” is used in this paper. but the concept of the polis must. I shall first discuss what I believe is meant by a polis and how its aspects are different from other social organizations available in this period. Some historians have a very specific formula to categorize poleis.BCE Greece. protected the citizenry from enemies while joining them together into a centralized unit. of course. Finley. allowing a semblance of equality for all classes of the citizenry. as well as Bronze Age associations. while a polis was not created by any one thing.I. 2 . and the implementation of procedural laws. is not an easy question to answer and the answer itself has many different parts to it. This. 4 As Moses Finley states. I shall analyze different scholarly theories concerning early polis development.

stating that “the polis must always be approached as a psychological and spiritual, not physical bond,” I believe that this procedure will not only dichotomize certain physical aspects of poleis and how those physical aspects, or the establishment of them, affected the citizenry, but will discuss the theoretical realm as well. 5 The most difficult aspect of the term polis itself for modern scholars is deciding upon an overarching definition. The fact is, unfortunately, that a general definition is impossible to create. The polis has roots as far back as the Bronze Age and continues, at the very least, to Pausanias (I refer here to 10.4 when he mentions what does not constitute a polis). Because of the term’s longevity, it is impossible to create a cohesive definition that reflects every time period in which the term is used. Modern scholarship is, therefore, uncertain because some scholars define the polis in a general way and some define it as it corresponds to a certain time period. In more recent years, scholars have been dissecting the polis using historical, anthropological and archaeological evidence in an effort to join definitions with textual material. I shall be using these disciplines in order to understand and describe the early foundations of the polis, as well as to illustrate that the primary function of the polis was to facilitate a balance between external and internal influences in early development. When I first began this project, I came across a passage in the Iliad (22.511) where Andromache runs from her home to the city walls when Hector is killed. If the polis is an evolution of the oikos, and if walls and other physical structures are, in fact, indicative of poleis, I believe this scene relates to the fundamental shift from an oikosstructure to a polis-based society.

Chester G. Starr, Individual and Community: The Rise of the Polis 800-500 BC (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 35.



How did the polis first develop? Though a difficult question to answer, I believe etymology can paint a greater picture of the polis in its early stages rather than anthropological or sociological methods. Jerzy Kurylowicz proposed the Fourth Law of Analogy, a way of defining language change through a series of analogies during different time periods. 6 When two forms come into competition for one function, the newer form may take over that function while the older form may become relegated to a subcategory of its earlier function. For example, many words refer to a “covering” in Latin coming from the root -teg. The early form that denoted a covering was toga, which was replaced by tegmen at a later date. Toga then took on a more specific meaning, “garment”, though still operating within the same generalization of “covering”. A newer word, tegmentum, eventually replaced tegmen and tegmen became more specific, now meaning “bark” (i.e., the bark on a tree). All these words once meant the same thing at the most general level, i.e., “covering”. Over time, the older words have taken on more specific meanings. The first communal structure was based on the oikos or “household system” which encompassed not only the head of the family (kyrieia) that oversaw it but also the people working on it as well. 7 Moses Finley states that members of these oikoi were not slaves but “retainers (therapontes), exchanging their service for a proper place in the basic social unit…” 8 Oikos, an –IE- word, originally meant a “communal structure” or “settlement” much like the Latin vicus or the Anglo-Saxon –wick. The polis (a new nonFor more information of the Fourth Law of Analogy, see Jerzy Kurylowicz, "La nature des procès dits 'analogiques'," Acta Linguistica 5:15-37, reprinted in Readings in Linguistics II, edit. Eric P. Hamp, Fred W. Householder, and Robert Austerlitz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 169: “Quand à la suite d'une transformation morphologique une forme subit la différentiation, la forme nouvelle correspond à sa fonction primaire (de fondation), la forme ancienne est réservée pour la fonction secondaire (fondée). 7 See Footnote 53 for a discussion on kyrieia. 8 Finley, 54. This notion of working for acceptance in a social unit is one of the fundamental cornerstones of the reciprocal relationship which will be discussed at length later in this section.


IE word for that same thing) came into competition with oikos and takes over the primary function (i.e. settlement), while the oikos gets demoted to a subcategory of it (i.e., household). Therefore, the polis and oikos can be used to define each other and further a definition of the polis. The question after this discussion is, what, other than “new social structure”, does the polis denote? Physical structures can provide a glimpse into an answer to this question. The histories of Herodotus and Thucydides will be vital in the discussion of physical polis structures, especially in the Classical period, and I shall be specifically focusing on the destruction of a polis to determine the importance of those structures. With the fall of Mycenaean centralized monarchies, the oikos, “dominated by an aristocrat and his family,” would eventually emerge from the post-Mycenaean period as the principal form of social cohesion and would eventually “produce the historical phenomenon of the city-state”. 9 Rather than discussing categories that accommodate poleis, which Mogens Herman Hansen has already gone to painstaking lengths to produce, I believe it is more productive to discuss certain major poleis that embody these categories but that might not fit into a more general definition. The polis was neither likened to a specific type of government, nor was it fixed in its associations. To illustrate this, I have chosen four major poleis to discuss, all of which encapsulate different governments but are similar in early development. Athens (democracy), Corinth (tyranny), Thebes (oligarchy and federation), and Sparta (dual monarchy) are all poleis but demonstrate different generalities. Sparta tends to violate any generalization about ancient Greece, while Thebes usually seems underdeveloped


A.M. Snodgrass, The Dark Age of Greece: An Archaeological Survey of the Eleventh to the Eighth Centuries BC (New York: Routledge, 1971), 387.


” in The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece. in essence. sections of Herodotus and Thucydides. 1997). sanctuaries. It was. Lynette G. Rhodes (New York: Routledge. edit. walls.J. Rhodes (New York: Routledge. 10 Each of these poleis adopts a balance between external and internal influences as it evolves into a more specified type of government. however. While population facilitated growth. 11 The term “city-state”. 9. was used to describe Roman civitas. and scholarship concerning early development. Davies. though it is usually equated to a “city-state”.. 10 6 . scholars hit a proverbial wall when questioning what ancient Greeks thought a polis really was. Mitchell and P. 12 The term polis itself.e. etc…) and a balance between external and internal influences. I shall prove that the polis was created not by any one thing but a combination of factors that facilitated its growth through the concept of balance.and Athens seems overly developed. and in the sections named “Athens” and “Corinth”. the polis could only be created through the adaptation of physical structures (i. “The Copenhagen Inventory of Poleis and the Lex Hafniensis De Civitate. edit. Methodology and Types of Poleis When discussing the meaning of the polis. Only then was city-state used retroactively to describe the Greek polis. most The concept of a tyranny in control of a polis will be discussed in the introductory section of Chapter 3. Mitchell and P.” in The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece.J. Lynette G. “The ‘Origins of the Greek Polis’: Where Should We Be Looking. 24. Corinth represents more of a “norm” in Greek polis development. however. 12 Mogens Herman Hansen. a further development of the oikos that grew because of increases in population after the post-Mycenaean period. One of the earliest meanings of a polis is “stronghold” or “citadel”. 11 John K. After a discussion of these case studies. yet it is a perfect example of a continuous tyranny controlling a polis. 1997).

illustrating a further association in the Archaic period. 11. that Hansen’s list does not contain the concept of autonomy unless a territorial debate led to overall dominion.likely had older roots. who undertook the daunting and admirable task of finding and categorizing all poleis in ancient literature. in many cases. Ptolis is also used in the Iliad (6. 10. Spartan Reflections (Los Angeles: University of California Press. the term polis was used in ancient literature when: waging war. founding a colony. “The ideal for a polis was autonomy. and. defraying expenses. 14 Hansen. Mykalessos was thought of as a polis. when discussing the territory of an altar or polis in general and in protecting a divinity. 24. 16 Hansen. 2001). though it was dependent on Tanagra in certain historical periods. 13 Paul Cartledge. Hansen divides possible poleis into three types. poleis were under the control of larger poleis.327). 14 Chester Starr wrote. Types B and C might have certain polis-like characteristics but are not called polis by ancient sources. 13 According to Mogens Herman Hansen of the Copenhagen Polis Centre. striking coins. For example. the right to establish its own laws and to administer justice without outside interference. might indicate a polis but a polis would not necessarily demand autonomy. 7 . 15 Starr. For more information on the Mycenaean dialect see Anna Morpurgo. repairing city walls. Autonomy. deriving from the Mycenaean term ptolis. therefore.” 15 Notice. passing a law. making peace. Type A is called a polis by Archaic or Classical sources to 323 BCE and has common characteristics such as a boule and city walls. Individual and Community. 16 Tanagra maintained dominion by making decisions which could reduce the autonomy of another. Polis. having entered into an alliance. making a judicial ruling. however. that is. 1963). a term used in ancient literature thousands of times. 87. Dominion relates to autonomy but also confines itself to the city which maintains the power. Mycenaeae Graecitatis Lexicon (Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo Roma.

27. 17 Whenever polis is used to describe a territory. “represents an ‘ideal type’. city or both. Austin and Vidal-Naquet later liken the polis to urbanization and the “unification of city and countryside” as Hesiod implies in Works and Days. In the remaining 98%. when stating that “urbanization does not automatically imply the development of the polis”.M. They undermine this. 49. Economic & Social History of Ancient Greece: An Introduction . and all depends on what criteria one adopts”. Colonization is a result and not a precursor to the polis (i. but only an urban center of a territory or a “political community”. however. includes all Greek poleis. Davies exchanges the term polis for “microstate” because it “begs no questions. Vidal-Naquet. encompassing 17 18 Ibid. trans. 20 Generally. concerning Sparta and Taras) employed in the sense of a “citadel” fewer than 100 times and as a “country” fewer than 200 times. 17. however. 8 . therefore. it is not used to denote any town. Ibid. must be treated as such. 19 M. Austin and P. 90: Sparta is an atypical polis because of a lack of an urban center and fortified acropolis since Sparta consists of five villages. urbanization being a very slow process except in Asia Minor (specifically citing Old Smyrna). Austin & P.. though they run into the same difficulties as other scholars. Austin (Berkeley: University of California Press. Vidal-Naquet discuss the polis in economic terms. overlooks references in ancient literature. 15. 49. but this is far from a constant.. it refers to the political territory of the city. M.. “Origins”. 20 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. M. The polis. Smyrna will be discussed further in the section “Colonization”. the term polis is used to represent a town. A “microstate” is too general. 21 This term. John K. 19 This is fine as a generalized statement but is arbitrary. 18 This is where the modern term of “city-state” came from: a “city” as the urban center and the “state” as the political community.M. and is greatly preferable”. 1977). colonies adopt their mother city’s institutions. 21 Davies.e.M. according to Austin and Vidal-Naquet.

however.. 37. centralized environment. seems similar to the characterizations between Greek poleis and ethne. in City. a separation of spaces and the interaction between them (i. Rosen & Ineke Sluiter. 15-16. edit. and grew in accordance with a need for more metal. in agreement with Francois de Polignac. however. bypasses the theory of size and asserts that the polis is “a dynamic relationship between the city and countryside”. 2006). For more information on European cities during the Bronze Age and post-Mycenaean period. 25 McInerney. defining the polis not as a ‘state’ but as an astu facing a chora. 36. rural. 23 22 9 . 46-48. partly because of environmental differences and partly because commercial and industrial patterns developed differently…” In the Bronze Age specifically. describes the differences between “town” and “city” in terms of population. Wells. classified by size. closely related in migration patterns. which does not coincide with textual evidence. 22 Peter Wells. 24 Jeremy McInerney. especially an area similar in proximity. may lead to realizations concerning the polis. is the one thing that divides what constitutes a city and a town. though he admits this seems arbitrary. usually based on an Eastern need for metals.. Farms. 16: Wells mentions that sites in Europe in this time period were “different in character from those of the Near East and the Aegean region. and hinterland Starr. a prehistoric historian. using a maximum of 5000 people to denote a town. urban. Ralph M. Individual and Community. 24 Wells. Some highly populated European towns became incredibly specialized around what Eastern regions wanted. as will be discussed later. that a site called a “city” in the European prehistoric period might not be called a “city” in other places in the world. though in his discussion there is not one characteristic size which could be applied generally to all poleis. and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity. While it might seem uncharacteristic to use European prehistoric data in order to define the polis which had roots in the Bronze Age. 26 While this definition is somewhat vague and perhaps too modest. 26 Ibid. Starr also describes the polis in terms of size. as Wells argues. 97-101. 23 He does note. and Cities: Commerce and Urban Origins in Late Prehistoric Europe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press.areas that might not have all the political or physical characteristics that a city-state would. which. 25 Jeremy McInerney. and maintaining similar institutions. Countryside. The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill. see Wells. a history of other areas. European towns depended upon trade with these areas. 1984). Villages. Peter S. deconstructs the polis into its most basic form. An urban.e. “Sacred Land and the Margins of the Community”. (Leiden.

did not exist. regardless of its physical size.(wilderness)) most definitely facilitated certain aspects of the polis. as will be later discussed. 29 This term is in quotation marks because the Homeric world. that “…the institutional and psychological accuracy is easily separable from the demonstrable inaccuracy of palaces and similar material elements of the culture…” 27 The polis as an institution is as flexible as it is eclectic. 81. 2007). do “seek to portray this lost world [Mycenaean World]” (Austin & Vidal-Naquet. The question now becomes how the Homeric corpus defines the polis when the polis did not exist in the Bronze Age. The Greek City States: A Source Book. being eclectic. the polis. While different time periods have different criteria for what constitutes a polis. 28 27 10 . of “city-state” to denote a polis. Classical and Aristotelian. 43. does not “fit into the framework of the Mycenaean world but belong in fact to a later period”. Finley. Archaic. using urban and extra-urban sanctuaries to create a semblance of social cohesion within or across territorial lines. the poems supplemented (or even substituted) archaic institutions for Bronze Age ones. 37). The Iliad. The Homeric poems.J. 1990). especially the wellevolved polis of the Classical period. Stephen Scully. The most general term. and Homeric hymns define the Homeric polis. 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. P. as well as the most politically-based definition. Homer and the Sacred City (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. the polity. Most scholarship on the early polis is derived from the Homeric material even though it depicts a period (the Bronze Age) in which the polis. however. 11. seems appropriate for this discussion on early polis development. urban center. has the “capacity…to bridge the cultural diversity of various areas…” 28 There are four different types of poleis according to the textual evidence: “Homeric” 29. however. Moses Finley astutely states. Odyssey. which had a political. Stephen Scully has done rather in-depth work on this subject and mentions in his book Homer and the Sacred City that a combination of walls. Rhodes.

32 Annette Giesecke suggests that the Iliad tries to define an “ideal citizen” while the Odyssey is more concerned with describing the perfect city. 3. 32 Ibid. there was only “the society of the Iliad and that of the Odyssey”. Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic (New York: Andrew Dalby/W. 30 Austin and Vidal-Naquet state further that there was no such thing as a Homeric society at all. the Homeric polis rather is a rural agglomeration with at most a few smiths and potters. 33 While Giesecke has rightly distinguished between these two epics. that Old Smyrna and the Mycenaean citadel “neutralizes historical difference”. I tend to use his views for opposing scholarship. poetic creation”. 39-40. with walls or not. that actually thrived in the post-Mycenaean age. or pastiche. 89: Because of the significance of circuit walls and because the Iliad reflects a contemporary time period. it [the polis] is an inhabited site. 79: “The poet of the Iliad and the Odyssey has played no such role and sees city politics from the perspective of a nonparticipant.: Center for Hellenic Studies. she overestimates how much these stories were specifically about the “perfection” of anything. 33 Annette Lucia Giesecke. 29. Utopia.. Individual and Community. 2007). though perhaps too egocentrically. Homeric Hymns are particularly difficult to apply in almost every respect. and urban walls appear as a rule only in the colonies down to classical times. but the post-Mycenaean age lacked true cities in the historical sense of centers possessing significant commercial and industrial sections.” Though using Dalby as a source might seem suspect since he popularizes much Homeric scholarship. as on the shield of Achilles.W. and the Garden in Ancient Greece and Rome (Washington D. tends to overlook Ionian settlements. The Epic City: Urbanism. while the Odyssey illustrates an economic world at relative peace. of old and new. No wonder that the ancient poet and modern historians look at the polis very differently. while informative. Scully posits correctly. 2006). defined the Homeric polis even though the Homeric polis (specifically discussing the sacredness of Troy) “is not a historical portrait of a polis at any one period in Greek history but rather an amalgam. 39. its vision an essentialized..” Starr’s definition. Too much is left unknown. 11 . Who was the author? Was there more than one? Why were they created? Are they meant to be read as a single unit or individually? In what time period were they 30 Ibid. Starr. 31 Austin & Vidal-Naquet.and surrounding territory. Inc. like the Archaic polis. sometimes with walls. 23: “At times. Andrew Dalby. Norton & Company. which is often translated as “city”. 31 The Iliad represents a “more archaic and less open world”. though especially in applying them to uncover historical aspects of ancient Greek life.C..

The point is that the story is based on some memory of the past. 44. For more information see Claude Calame. The Nature of Greek Myths (London: Penguin Books. illustrating a hymn’s importance over other types of writing. one of the most difficult problems to come to terms with when looking at the Homeric corpus as a valid source. and that its progress is described in largely realistic terms. 36 This is. classicists and other disciplines have to use what sources are available to piece together temporally undistinguishable periods of time.”. G. 32: “Much of the Iliad is obviously historicizing in content…there is certainly a great deal of exaggeration.written and what time period do they reflect? While classics. Plato bans all poetics but decides against discarding hymns because hymns are “for the gods and eulogies for good people”. trans. the Director of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. the material we can derive from the epics belongs to a larger body of evidence generally known in the Archaic period. they are certainly important in their content. as well as the Iliad and Odyssey. there was most likely knowledge about the Homeric epics before they were actually written. Peter M. these types of works simply do not exist. however.S. there were only oral renderings of these stories and. therefore. 1974). 35 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 40. Masks of Authority: Fiction and Pragmatics in Ancient Greek Poetics. 34 12 . Finley. In a kind of academic-MacGyver fashion. 36 G. There was no Homer who wrote these epics in the Bronze Age and. therefore. would love to have a detailed. 34 Since the poet who wrote the Homeric epics wrote in a later time period. 1998). when he asked me why I was trying to extrapolate religious In Plato’s Republic Book 2. Before written epics. and that some Achaeans were among the attackers. but even those least confident in the existence of a ‘Trojan War’ concede that some attack took place. 97. unbiased account of the Bronze. he was “recreating the world as he imagine[d] it” 35. Kirk. 39. Burk (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. as a discipline.S. 20-21. might be difficult in their application. post-Mycenaean and Archaic periods. While the Homeric Hymns. Myth: Its Meaning & Function in Ancient & Other Cultures (Berkeley: University of California Press. however. Kirk. 2005). What does this mean for Homeric validity? Should scholars catalog this information under ‘corrupt’ and throw this information away? In a discussion with Jeremy McInerney.

38 Scully. illustrated by larger buildings in the area. 39 Settlements Scully. however. Thomas and Conant introduce the case-study of Nichoria in Messenia where population actually increased from 975-850 BCE (‘Dark Age II’). illustrating the “administrative structure[’s]…partial collapse”. but much is still left up to interpretation. 82. As with many emerging poleis. in the ninth century people began to coalesce together into a ‘central structure’ with a “great reliance on pastoral resources” which “offers several advantages in an unstable environment”. retaining oikos-institutions while gradually inventing new ones to deal with a rising population. 37 13 . Thomas & Conant. there seems to be a break in pottery between certain periods. 38 This village existence was a precursor to the Archaic polis. resemble oikoi rather than poleis. I told him that the Homeric corpus and other poems are what classicists have. 37 The Homeric polis. 37: There were some areas on the mainland that did thrive in postMycenaean conditions. Anthropological and archaeological studies on settlement patterns fill in some of the gaps. then. resembles an early social structure while reflecting newer institutions of eighth century conditions. usually only around a large sanctuary site. and life switched from a highly centralized center to a village-based lifestyle. at the very least.information from Homeric texts as it is not the best source to do so. The Homeric cities. implying that isolationist societies free from migrations thrived. While the polis does have linguistic and archaeological Bronze Age roots. Homeric texts. The post-Mycenaean period is difficult to discuss with any certainty. This reoccupation. 83. Mycenaean sites were very rarely continued. Archaeological evidence relates that certain families were most likely more important than others. 84. grant a glimpse into both the Bronze Age and the Archaic period. 27: Finley notes that the polis is visible in the Homeric poems but it has nothing to do with the Classical political polis. Thomas & Conant. When the Mycenaean civilization came to an end. While some might question the historicity of the Homeric corpus. though scholars tend to date it to after the destruction of Mycenaean palaces (late eleventh century-mid ninth century). 39 Scully. Finley. responds to its own environment and can. however. There is some speculation about Mycenaean cultures continuing and emerging from the postMycenaean period coalescing into the polis. used the existing space for a different purpose. Even then. Settlement densities seem to be greater in the Cycladic islands and Crete during this period. even though classified as poleis. as well as other poems and mythological references. the “center (royalty) was the first to wither”. 19: Mycenae was reoccupied even though it was at a much lower density.

Comparatively. The first walls were built about 100 years earlier. however. and Rhodes are either “fortified or easily defensible”.usually did not employ walls unless using already existing Mycenaean architecture. 84. 43 While Scully mentions somewhat definitive characteristics of the polis.” While this statement does seem logical. Scully mentions Old Smyrna and its walls in 850 BCE though this is actually the second. most having been very hastily erected “rubble constructions” around 800 BCE. at some times. and the head of the community was the most important family leader. regardless of size. 43 Scully. To enrich an oikos. 42 Scully states that mainland poleis did not erect walls until the seventh century. most likely for protection against pirates. Melie. these households. 41 Ionian and Cycladic villages produced the first circuit walls in the ninth century. for example. 44 The polis means more than just one thing. “were the largest kinship groups”. indicate that ‘poleis’ here during the eighth century were little more than hamlets. 40 Scully. Siphnos. 85: “Excavations at Athens. they state that Homer “recreates this world as he imagines it to have been. 429: Settlements on Chios. usually retaining the term astu to denote a lower Nevertheless. and for this purpose he deliberately exaggerates the wealth of the kings. 40 These new settlements started around older Mycenaean remnants. a distinction between different parts of the region which the polis overlooks. but there is no evidence of a concentrated urban center at any one of these three locations. Smyrna will be further discussed in the section “Colonization”. Scully also mentions others at Iasos. unfortified and loosely grouped. and Andros. Andros. newer settlement patterns began and agriculture increased (in place of the formerly employed animal husbandry). Corinth. “reorganized walls”. 44 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 14 . Snodgrass. There is. 86. Emporio. but the Homeric polis is more closely related to a “village” or “citadel”.” 42 Ibid.. referring to the lack of archaeological evidence to support Homeric descriptions. synoikismos in Nichoria began early around 1075 BCE. “a man draws other families…to his following”. though he does not specify which poleis specifically. this is another theory e silentio. and Eretria. not implying continuity in settlement sites but only that these were likely areas to settle because of their strategic and agricultural benefit. incompatible primarily because of conflicting archaeological and textual evidence. these characteristics are. 39: Aside from other inconsistencies. 41 Ibid. indicating that the “oikos had begun to lose its central hold”. In the eighth century. At Argos there is some evidence that its population was coagulating during this period into something of a village community near the site of its later agora. as its Archaic and Classical usages suggests.

The island of Aeolia had ornate walls and a palace. Scully cautions (p. 50 The Laestrygonian city of Telepylus (10. that epithets do illustrate certain aspects of the polis such as the importance of walls. 41-42. his theory focuses on walls in order to qualify them as “sacred”. no public business.” according to Scully. ‘the one who holds the polis’” (p. Myth: Its Meanings. therefore. means “the one who holds” which is “an abbreviation from Hekhepolis. were very important to the Homeric polis even though walled poleis were not among the majority mentioned in the Homeric corpus.59). as Scully mentions. is very well-founded. specifically focusing on Troy and its divinely built walls. their lack of specific local reference. though these areas were far from perfect. bureaucratic kingdoms rather than controlling regional city-states. but became the history of cities. Stephen Scully has complied massive amounts of information on epithets in both the Iliad and the Odyssey.” 46 Austin & Vidal-Naquet.94-148) had a harbor and was positioned on high ground.” 48 Scully further qualifies this definition as sine qua non for poleis under attack. 26: Giesecke mentions that Aeolia did not have an agora and. 46 Walls. and the importance of situation at the expense of the character”. 22.3-20). 45 15 . 50 Giesecke. though certain observations can help with the theoretical design of the Homeric polis. but generic or typical names…This practice reflects at once the range of their appeal. 47 “No single feature. 48 Ibid. there are three places that illustrate possible poleis. “no one historical model should be considered the prototype from which Homeric Scheria or any other Homeric polis was modeled. Kirk. 39: Referring to Scully’s work on epithets. The Phaeacians.portion of a city while using the term polis to denote the highest or “royal” area.. The hierarchical archaeology of an area will be discussed later in section “Mythology: Olympus as a Model”. 49 Though some scholars might not think Troy should be classified as a polis because of its geography. according to Scully. but nothing else is mentioned (10. however. 49 In the Odyssey. 36: “…Mycenaean Greece in the Bronze Age [was] a history not of cities. Finley. have all of the Scully. though she seems to be inferring too much from a short section in the Odyssey. which although small scale were centralized and bureaucratic in character…Greek history in the classical period was not to be the history of accounting and bureaucratic palaces. and his theory. “contributes more to the definition of a Homeric city than its city wall. For more information see Scully.” 47 Scully. 45 This hierarchical city design suggests centralized.89) that. Kirk notices that “many ‘folktales’ do not give particular names to their characters. 82. but did not have a wall or agriculture. 8. but of kingdoms. 47-48. it is important to note that Hector’s name itself. corroborated by later archaeological remains which indicate a hierarchical city design centered on the “megaron of the wanax”. chapters 4 and 5.

If later authors such as Tyrtaeus. was less substantial than it was in later periods. 16 . and demos). that the content of these words (polis. I posit. a palace. to denote the citizenry. Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 52 As noted above. even though Akinoos is a king. The most important derivative is politai (people of the polis) which. Austin and Vidal-Naquet note. Giesecke. however. however. an agora. was more than just a “household”. It is also important to note byproducts of the Homeric polis. or what Scully calls a “body polis” and not a “body politic”. 51 The Homeric corpus also uses the word demos. newer version of the oikos. The oikos. it was. one of the first reciprocal relationships (the fundamental mechanism of exchange) in which a prominent family (or individual 51 52 Scully. but also to illustrate the differences between the Homeric and Archaic polis. While the polis is essentially a larger. denoted a politicized citizenry. Solon and Thucydides illustrate specificities of Archaic and Classical poleis. 12: Giesecke defines the Odyssey as identifying not polis-structures but utopian city elements. then the Homeric corpus surely relates specificities of the oikos. I believe that there was a shift from the oikos to the polis. though that is not the primary meaning. a group of leading men.physical aspects that would later define the Archaic polis: walls. Herodotus. he seems to be a moderate one. 40. the politai only exemplified a common identity. In the Homeric polis. politai. however. mostly because it is from these derivatives that later scholars define the Classical polis. in later time periods. they exemplify different moralities as well as different allegiances. 54-55: the demos in the Archaic period refers to urban manufacturing. while used in the Homeric corpus. a Mycenaean term closely associated with democracy and frequently used by later classical authors. and. 56.

thereby gaining control over the pooled surpluses. trans. as Scully astutely states. 2003). 40. Starr. slaves. it commonly becomes one’s father…and estates. by any of a variety of means. but also facilitate a shift from old to new.”. Thucydides. 57 Therefore. the oikos and the polis are at odds. Individual and Community. Starr. which Raphael Sealey defines as the end of certain migratory patterns. 62. Books I & II (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Thomas and Conant assume that Mycenaean citadels had the same function as Minoan redistribution palaces. under the lead of their most powerful men.” 54 and that “the identification of the city lies with the genealogy of one house and one family…” 55 Austin and Vidal-Naquet define the oikos in more economic rather than kinship terms as a unit of consumption.[kyrieia]) would recruit clients to further family interests. established a patronage over his fellows. 106: Finley relates that retainers can also be guest-friends of a family which further adds to the power of the oikos . each led by a family head. ‘there was only the oikos’. The oikos thus embraced both the biological family and animals. whose motive was of their own private gain and the support of their weaker followers…even at present day…”. 41. 58 In the period after the post-Mycenaean (Dark Age) era. 54 Scully. there were two types of settlements: the Thomas & Conant 10: “Such storage facilities [Mycenaean and Minoan Palaces]. 57. 1968). 1. 27: “…whenever this encouragement to bravery is stated more precisely. retainers…” 55 Scully. was more like one “single oikos rather than a collective polis. Lacey.5: “…they [Hellenes and the Barbarians who dwell on the mainland near the sea]…turned to piracy. 56 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. Individual and Community. It is likely that one of these heads (kyrieia). 57. 22. Jeffrey Henderson. in the Homeric epics. The Family in Classical Greece: Aspects of Greek and Roman Life (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 53 Troy itself. the tribe or ethnos. necessitating a need not only to come to terms with each other. 51: “[The polis]…was a reaction to the increased need for the strengthening of communal unity. which rely upon the constituency of a kyrieia. 15: “A further essential element in the oikos was its means of subsistence…An oikos that could not support its members was. W. the basic structure for ensuring the survival of a society.K. Individual and Community. 56 This theory mainly assumes mixed agriculture which was probably a secondary function to raiding and piracy. Finley. the building block with which Aristotle began his analysis in the Politics.” While this theory seems plausible.” 53 17 . to the Greeks. Clients depended on wealthy family leaders for their well-being. and the production of family lands would increase with an increase in the number of clients. Individual and Community. became the nucleus of the future palace center and the focus of a new economic and social system which temporarily submerged the old demos.” 57 Starr. essentially a settlement consisting of a few families. containing the hoarded wealth of the community. Starr. 58 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. no oikos at all. 27: “Besides the community as a whole. History of the Peloponnesian War. and thus was in a position to initiate or further the process of nucleation.

John Bintliff. Rosen & Ineke Sluiter (Leiden.” in Polis and Politics: Studies in Ancient Greek History. The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill. the urban area was most likely protected by walls so that citizens could farm during the day and come back to the city at night. The polis. 60 This notion of a connection between urban and rural areas will be discussed in the section “Sanctuaries and Boundaries”. mostly in “north-western parts of Greece which had not been penetrated by Mycenaean civilization”. 19. 700-338 B. The interconnection between agricultural territories and a centralized settlement led to the polis becoming the political center of the region. 59 The polis. 62 Austin and Vidal-Naquet state that the ethnos and the polis are fundamentally opposed to each other. had two main features. edit. which reverts back to its original definition. 23-24. most poleis had a citadel for protection. so much so that poleis usually did not occur in areas where an ethnos was the primary construction. Countryside. in more specific areas. Ralph M. The History of the Greek City States ca.” many villages became cities. 62 Sealey. the interaction between subsocieties helps to determine the structure of the whole society”. 2000). 235. might have referred to geographical and. edit. it was a sedentary society.polis and the ethnos. 164: “This larger society [polis] will encompass subsocieties [tribal elements] with specialized rules and norms. 1976). primarily illustrated through the Fourth Law of Analogy and the Raphael Sealey. P. 59 18 . tribal units in which people claimed association. First. 63 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 1996). “What is Greek about the Polis. 79: “The ethnos type of state represents a much less developed stage than the polis and chronologically it precedes it. 63 Since the etymology of the word polis itself has Bronze Age roots. 61 Oswyn Murray. according to Sealey. however. Because of this dependency. and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity. which was not protected by walls.”. These villages were linked by some type of hereditary and homogeneous alliance system. (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 60 Second. 61 In the Archaic and Classical periods. An ethnos was a tribal-village construction. “City-Country Relationships in the ‘Normal Polis’. Austin & Vidal-Naquet.C. (Los Angeles: University of California Press. The Athenian Revolution: Essays on Ancient Greek Democracy and Political Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 19. 2006). Josiah Ober. Flensted-Jensen et al. dependent on agriculture. because an ethnos system was “less advanced. 79.” in City.

edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. it logically follows that poleis starting right after the postMycenaean period would begin in areas where Mycenaean civilization was predominant. 42. Zeus promised to uphold any immortal’s position as currently held who would fight with him against the Titans.” Tufts University.relationship of oikos to polis. Snodgrass. attracted men (client) who needed their assistance. These families. though retaining religious and minor judicial functions in later stages. not only for the development of the polis but for history in general. lines 392-394: “But he [Zeus] said. the council.. trans. whoever of the gods might fight with him against the Titans/ he would not take away their honor but that each should have the honor/ which they held before among the immortal gods (εἶπε δ᾽.perseus. In this relationship. such as with Styx and her children. in times of economic or military hardships. 66 Oswyn Murray. http://www. the roles of a king and a judge became more wide-ranging than just military leadership. 24. 1988). When a group became agrarian and therefore sedentary. West (Oxford: Oxford University Press. As the population of a group expanded. Theogony. 2010. “Perseus Digital Library. Early Greece (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press Inc. M. 67 Hesiod. more affluent families became more powerful and the power of the basileus was reduced. and it has its literary beginnings in Greek mythology and literature. 65 The reciprocal relationship is an important concept. the family leader guaranteed the social security of the client and the client promised to support and adhere to the family’s wishes. 64 As time progressed. 66 In Hesiod’s Theogony. 49-52: Supporters were required for piracy. Last Modified October 22. 67 These immortals promised that “they would aid Zeus’ Sealey. these roles soon resting with the authority of one person in order to facilitate an immediate link between government and the people.L. made up of powerful kyrieia and families. 387.0129. 383-399.01. 1980).tufts. Gregory R. edit. warfare. assumed an advisory role and an assembly of adult males heard judicial cases. ὃς ἂν μετὰ εἷο 65 64 19 . Theogony. Crane. He also promised to honor any immortal that had not been honored by Cronos in an effort to gain supporters. raiding or political ambitions.

seems more instinctive than substantive. Gregory R. people could. lines 225-227. wealth or an abundance of grain was the primary way of becoming a basileus. Perseus. Nevertheless.16) remarks that members of an oikos were usually members of both phratries and demes. 72 Starr. Starr’s statement. 70 In the Archaic period. “[his] personality. Individual and Community. The Greek City States. Works and Days.0131. 69 Hesiod. 2. Individual and Community. a basileus could “promote disputes over other men’s property”. With wealth. 71 To be clear. Snodgrass. Since this was an “estate-centered” economy and the aristocracy owned most of the land./μή τιν᾽ ἀπορραίσειν γεράων. Rhodes. the phratria. 18.” phratria are only mentioned in the Iliad once. trans. however. 68 In Hesiod’s Works and τιμὴν δὲ ἕκαστον/ἑξέμεν. 72 As wealth increased from trade and agriculture. “Perseus Digital Library. 20 . as well as citizens of a polis (if they were in fact living in a polis). members of multiple groups. M.” Tufts University. and could use deified Right to give “crooked verdicts. 662-663. 70 Starr. a subdivision of a hereditary tribe.” 68 Theogony. therefore. http://www. Crane.L.” If.tufts.360-366. Lacey (p. disputes about who was sovereign over the legal system were θεῶν Τιτῆσι μάχοιτο. ἣν τὸ πάρος γε μετ᾽ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσιν). and usually were.01. edit. 387-388. 28. became a leader and judge because of an abundance of materials. he gives “straight judgments” (δίκας…ἰθείας) then the “polis can bloom (τοῖσι τέθηλε πόλις…)”.perseus. phratria remained influential even after the Classical period. therefore. Last Modified October 22. 2010. West (Oxford: Oxford University Press. and ultimately his utility to his followers”. certain families became richer and competed for superiority with other families. arose as a sub-unit of political culture.supremacy in terrible strife/ by fighting the Titans in fierce combat (ῥυσόμεθα κράτος ὑμὸν ἐν αἰνῇ δηϊοτῆτι/μαρνάμενοι Τιτῆσιν ἀνὰ κρατερὰς ὑσμίνας)”. 1988). 27 in reference to Iliad. 69 The basileus. Works and Days. specifically reinforcing the complex and subjective definition of citizenship. 71 Though I believe Starr correctly states that both Trojans and the Achaeans “were formally grouped in phratries….

the tension between rich. 43. 75 This type of synoikismos which revolves around the placement of regional sanctuaries was very effective in places like Rhodes and. stating that “here [Chios] and elsewhere non-aristocratic elements were increasing in strength…” 74 Sparta’s unification will be discussed in the section named “Sparta: The Outlier”. and this tension will become more and more frequent over time. the opposite structure of the polis. There are inscriptions from Chios that both mention the basileus and the ‘council of the demos’ which were drawn from tribal units. perhaps consisting of ethne or other independent poleis. Starr. was not the only social structure in the Archaic period. to a certain extent.inevitable though not immediate. The polis. making Athens the religious and social center of the region. they mainly used violence. Individual and Community. but this only created the original polis. Nevertheless. 75 Athenian unification will be discussed in the section named “Athens”. Sparta combined their villages into one state using similar tribal associations in respect to cults and governmental offices (a tribal association to one of their two kings). Two different types of synoikismos existed: unification with violence or without. using a method named synoikismos (“unification”). 73 Early poleis did not have many mechanisms for coercion or force. foreign cults to the Athenian urban environment. glory-driven land owners and a larger community of men marred the Archaic period. as stated earlier. 73 21 . 74 Athens mainly used nonviolent methods (for the most part) to unify Attica. the ethnos. and it would take some time for social gradations to become prevalent. 63: Starr also states that not all areas in the Archaic period were in turmoil. Between the eighth and fifth centuries. bringing in rural. large geographical areas usually under the command of a large or influential polis unified a region. To unify the region of Laconia. was prevalent in many regions.

77. 79 Thucydides. a Corinthian. After a staggering defeat at the hands of the Syracusans. in this case people willing to coerce to retain a territory. Rhodes. a few. edit. they had a city and a city greater than other poleis because no Greek would be able to repulse them. Last Modified October 22.2. as Themistocles explains to Adeimantos.P. wherever you establish yourselves you are at once a city. as this statement illustrates. Putman’s Sons).4. Gregory R. Anchor Books. 215 in reference to Diodorus Siculus. as long as they had their navy of 200 ships. chastised Themistocles for advising the committee when he did not have a city. 7. “Perseus Digital Library.01. Herodotus starts to define the polis as the people within a territory.0199. Thucydides best exemplifies the Classical polis in 7. 78 Herodotus. Crane. Purvis. 79 Regional sanctuaries will be discussed in the section names “Sanctuaries and Boundaries”. During the second Persian War. trans. 76 Most poleis had undergone synoikismos by the end of the sixth century. “But remember. unified later.” Tufts University. 77 While many writers reflect the Archaic period in their writings. Charles Foster Smith. when the Greek poleis were discussing a plan to defeat the Persians. 9. text:1999. and that in all of Sicily there is no other city which could either sustain an attack from you or drive you out if you once made a settlement anywhere”. such as Elis in the Peloponnese (dating to around 470 BCE). rather than a territory’s physical structures. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories (New York. History of the Peloponnesian War.77. Histories. History of the Peloponnesian War.perseus. Nicias explains to his soldiers. trans.tufts. In the early Archaic period.54. 2007). Themistocles stated that. 2010. Andrea L. http://www.4. Books VII & VIII (New York: G.61.77. Herodotus mainly illustrates what constituted the polis in this period.4: Thucydides. Adeimantos. 77 76 22 . that: …λογίζεσθε δὲ ὅτι αὐτοί τε πόλις εὐθύς ἐστε ὅποι ἂν καθέζησθε καὶ ἄλλη οὐδεμία ὑμᾶς τῶν ἐν Σικελίᾳ οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἐπιόντας δέξαιτο ῥᾳδίως οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἱδρυθέντας που ἐξαναστήσειεν. 7. physical structures and regional supremacy defined the polis. The Greek City States.Argos. 78 Herodotus wrote later than Tyrtaeus and other poets.

is the latest version of the polis. Benjamin Jowett. or “men are the polis.More specifically. 78: Polinskaya quotes Kurt Raaflaub in stating that the polis was “people rather than place”. such that despite its unimpressive geographical proportions.1252a. but not walls nor ships without men”. the inhabitants of such poleis believed and acted as if they were in an Isolated State at odds with all the world”. with a mere 25-20% in those numerous but proportionally small farms and villages in their choras. 80 23 . 82 Aristotle. The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill. Thucydides writes ἄνδρες γὰρ πόλις. allowing for a new sense of citizenship and civic duty. walled settlement of Plataea. “Lack of Boundaries. 81 Bintliff. This is not surprising since most of Greece’s population lived in urban areas (or poleis) rather than rural areas. not only a philosopher but also a budding anthropologist. Absence of Oppositions: The City-Countryside Continuum of a Greek Pantheon”. discussed by Aristotle in his Politics in the fourth century BCE. the polis had evolved over the last two to three centuries. II. Two different associations. the physical structures that have been so important in defining the polis in earlier periods do not matter much in the Classical period. Irene Polinskaya. 80 In actuality. in Nicias’ same speech. and Bintliff. Rosen & Ineke Sluiter (Leiden. IX (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica. yet one in which an unusual degree of politization had developed. Countryside. edit. Ralph M.” Athens seems to be an anomaly as Bintliff compares these figures with Athens whose populace mainly reside outside of the city-proper. 81 This definition coincides with classical conditions but overestimates the requirement of size. The Works of Aristotle. and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity. “but a nucleated settlement of moderate size. 1. trans. John Bintliff defines the polis in this period as not a city at all. Vol. 2006). Politics. with which I agree. 1952). because poleis ranged in size from the enormous size of Sparta to the small. believes that to discuss aspects of the community. The Great Book Series. one must first dissect early aspects of the polis. between men and women. differing from earlier periods of development on the mainland. 82 Aristotle. Vol. Inc. equating a polis to a community which “does the highest good”. 22: “…75-80% of regional populations were living in the cities of classical Greece.. καὶ οὐ τείχη οὐδὲ νῆες ἀνδρῶν κεναί. in City. The Aristotelian model. 24.

Politics. 89 Aristotle continues his discussion of government structures with a discussion of certain constitutions. 88 Economically. tribal associations. many households create the polis). 2. 1. While this statement seems unclear. in its most natural form. 85 Politics. 2010. πόλις δ᾽ οἰκίας. 1. Athens. Jowett. When several villages unite.tufts. trans. 86 The interest of the community. Last Modified October 22. evaluating the merit of each structure.e.perseus. “Perseus Digital Library. Crane. however. if the polis is a newer and larger social structure of the oikos.1261a. 1. Corinth and Thebes. 1261a. Gregory R. such as Sparta. however. an oikos is more self-sufficient than an individual and a polis is more self-sufficient than an oikos. 83 Several families will eventually unite in order to produce a surplus of goods. To create a balance in the state.1252b. Jowett. which is a defining principle of the Aristotelian model. a “colony (ἀποικία)” of the household.” Tufts University. logically. http://www.0057.01. created the family or “households (οἰκία)”.men and slaves. 2. ethnic groups.1252b: ἡ δ᾽ ἐκ πλειόνων κωμῶν κοινωνία τέλειος πόλις….1253b: …ἐξ ὧν μορίων ἡ πόλις συνέστηκεν… 86 Politics. 87 Politics. The Spartans maintain all 83 Aristotle.. Perseus. or the “fullest possible unity of the state (τὸ μίαν εἶναι τὴν πόλιν ὡς ἄριστον ὂν ὅτι μάλιστα πᾶσαν…)” must create a constitution since a citizenry tends to have different things in common (i. trans. 88 Politics.1261b: οἰκία μὲν γὰρ αὐταρκέστερον ἑνός. Perseus. then a village is to an oikos as a colony is to a polis. Politics.. an abundance of unity would transform the polis back into a family because a polis is made up of many different people. should remain the same. Perseus. 24 . edit. qualifies this description by warning against too much unity. 89 Politics. and this formation is called a “village (κώμη)”. 3. Perseus. a “community”. they become a polis (or. 84 Politics.. 87 Aristotle. 1. 84 Aristotle relates that the village is.1252b. 2. economic statuses).1279a. 85 Aristotle was most likely referring to larger poleis that held large amounts of power in his time.

Aristotle focuses more on actual legislators. and.1275b.1274a. therefore. 91 While elevating some Spartan ideals. 25 . Aristotle criticizes the Spartan Council because of the age of its members. 2. Jowett. 97 90 91 Politics. 92 He also criticizes the Spartan mess system because poor Spartans. 96 Politics. monarchy. 94 Politics. led Aristotle to the opinion that people were the state (πόλιν δὲ τὸ τῶν τοιούτων [people who participated in the government] πλῆθος).1267a-2. trans. 3. Jowett. who might not be able to contribute to their mess-halls. 93 With Athens.1270b: “…for the mind grows old as well as the body. 95 The issue of lower-class power in the polis. trans. 95 This will be discussed further in the section “Athens”. trans. 92 Politics. with the legislation of Ephialtes and Pericles.” 93 Ibid. 2. 94 Later.1265b.1276a. Jowett. 97 Politics. would not be able to participate in the citizenry. and democracy. Jowett. as well as earlier historical accounts of the polis (primarily by Herodotus and Thucydides). 2. The nobles. trans.1267b. however. 2. should be trained not to desire more but prevent the lower classes from getting more. beginning with Solon who “created the democracy” with the advent of “law courts”. 3. Athenian lower classes gain an immense amount of power in the state (or at least more than any other polis had). 90 Possibly relating Sparta to Athens’ seisachtheia. thinking that they would be entitled to more. Jowett. will be dissatisfied.three forms of government because they employ elements of an oligarchy. Politics. 96 While Aristotle never mentions what a viable limit might be. the boundary of state control was no longer the city-wall as it had been in earlier periods. Perseus. the state communicating to lower classes through staterun institutions concretely illustrates a democracy. Aristotle mentions that the “equalization of property” was essential to the initial Spartan state because it “prevents the citizens from quarreling”. trans.

Early Law Law itself is not easy to define. there were three stages of law in early Greek society which related to the establishment of legal procedures: pre-legal. A formal procedure adheres to current traditions concerning the law process. Starr also notes that “the objective of 98 99 Michael Gagarin. 8-9. Ibid. however. nor did they shift power away from wealthy families. Early Greek Law (Los Angeles: University of California Press. According to Gagarin. 26 . Having a public procedure asserted special authority over an individual or group. though this does not necessarily have anything to do with the enforcement of the resolution. Only in the legal stage. though Gagarin makes a point of expressing the unreliability of using poems and discussions of oral tradition as source material. it had to be public and formal. the definitions and ramifications that law had on the polis. These procedural laws were not substantive. 98 What is normally seen as a formal element of ancient law is the use of a skeptron or scepter. Early law. creates an internal balance within a polis so that wealthy. Early law defined formal authority and was made public in order to create a semblance of equality between classes. as well as to incorporate lower classes into the state. describes. 99 These two characteristics of a legal society are found in countless ancient sources. 1986). as completely as possible. For a procedure to be considered a law. do rules and procedures start to become recognizable. from which individuals received the ability and authority to speak in an assembly. proto-legal and legal. or procedural law. I feel. influential families and poorer citizens could live under the same procedural regulations. Michael Gagarin and his work on early Greek law. with the development of writing.

For more information on the dating and representation of the Homeric world. 17. 102 Calchas. 2006). The 100 101 Starr. 1997). a bird-reader. 103 Iliad. the Homeric corpus. 101 The concept of a supreme commander and formal authority in the Iliad is unclear because Agamemnon. Lombardo. the time in which the Iliad and the Odyssey are set represents the archaic period itself “when Greek cities were self-governing units. Most of the decisions made by the Greeks were made in assembly. 102 Homer. 103 The assembly eventually turned into an argument between Achilles and Agamemnon while Nestor acted as a mediator.: Andrew Dalby. however. Iliad. fearing reprisals from Agamemnon. have the sole power to call an assembly or the ability to silence another leader.83-90. are invaluable to the process simply because they encompass most of the written sources concerning this time period.62ff. as well as Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days. What is most peculiar about this particular assembly is that the scepter was only used towards the end and for a function other than allowing a person to speak. which was only occasionally summoned by Agamemnon. did not have supreme command in a modern sense. Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic (N. trans. trans. Achilles actually called the first assembly to discuss the cause of the plague (Agamemnon’s refusal to return Chryses) and not to discuss tactics.these bards was not to write history but to explore human capabilities and limitations”. He did not. Individual and Community. even asked Achilles to guarantee his safety before he testified. 1. Agamemnon was supposed to be honored above any Greek because he is allowed to distribute other heroes’ spoils. 1. After Agamemnon decided to take Briseis. Achilles’ captive. Stanley Lombardo (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.P. illustrating Achilles’ power over the supposed supreme commander. while he led the Greeks into the Trojan War. see Andrew Dalby. 27 . 100 Nevertheless. with trade and colonization and political faction” (4). Achilles swore a formal oath upon a scepter not to fight in the war until his honor was restored. Andrew Dalby states.

While Zeus might have given the scepter to Agamemnon. 109 Ibid.. Mary Margaret Mackenzie and Charlotte Roueché (Cambridge. trans. Last Modified October 22. power and glory given by Zeus himself” (ἐπεὶ οὔ ποθ᾽ ὁμοίης ἔμμορε τιμῆς/ σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεύς. Easterling proposes.: The Cambridge Philological Society. Zeus was able to punish immortals that violate oaths by inducing a coma for a year and exiling them from the immortal council for nine years. Agamemnon could not possibly use it to its fullest capacity: only Zeus could. The scepter.K. 105 Nestor later tried to stop the argument. 107 This is. Zeus himself is the embodiment of ideal authority which no mortal could emulate. urging Agamemnon not to take Briseis and Achilles not to question Agamemnon’s authority. trans. 111. 108 Ibid. in this case. reinforcing Agamemnon’s authority.perseus. Crane. not always the case as will be demonstrated later in this section. http://www. “Perseus Digital Library. 795-804. 1.0133. ᾧ τε Ζεὺς κῦδος ἔδωκεν). edit.” Tufts University.tufts. 109 Iliad. then. 2010. in Images of Authority: Papers Presented to Joyce Reynolds on the Occasion of Her 70th Birthday. 108 Even if the scepter was only an emblem of regal authority. 105 104 28 . 106. 114.scepter. Theogony. The reason he gave was that “a scepter-holding king has honor beyond the rest of men. U. 104 According to Hesiod’s Theogony. is not only a formal authority but also a religious one because oaths and councils were sacred to Zeus. the skeptron. is usually used for speech-making and oath-taking. While Agamemnon’s scepter does retain a certain amount of divine authority. relinquished his authority so that Agamemnon could maintain sole authority of the combined army. 1989).292-294. however. “articulate[s]…the authority of the king”. “Agamemnon’s skeptron in the Iliad”. 106 Iliad. while the leader of the Myrmidons. edit. 1. 105: the scepter’s “intimate connexion to Zeus… emphasizes its [the scepter’s] function as a badge of authority…” 107 Easterling. Gregory R. 106 This implies that Achilles..01. 110. Pat Easterling. Lombardo..

73. Perseus. 114 Oaths. 110 Even though Zeus gave Agamemnon “honor” and the scepter. This directly correlates to Agamemnon’s status as a basileus whose power. Its subsequent breaking did not only start a massive battle but also was sacrilegious because of an oath’s relationship to Zeus. Diomedes questions Agamemnon’s behavior and reactions. which is real power”. Again Agamemnon called an assembly and related that Troy could not be taken. while also becoming a source of formal authority themselves. Iliad. 9. trans. Lombardo. therefore. ὅ τε κράτος ἐστὶ μέγιστον. These reparations. though he was the leader of the largest contingent and inherited a great deal of both mortal and divine power. 113 Iliad. 112 The skeptron is also associated with another source of formal authority: the oath.120-165. 9.170ff. which were numerous and extravagant. trans. relied upon bravery in battle. the Trojans broke their oath after attacking Menelaus during a cease-fire for a duel between himself and Paris. This time. 111 Leadership therefore was not only the ability to command other kings by formal (or./ἀλκὴν δ᾽ οὔ τοι δῶκεν. 4.41-43: σκήπτρῳ μέν τοι δῶκε τετιμῆσθαι περὶ πάντων. 114 Iliad. enhance the authority of things associated with the skeptron. 112 Finley. demonstrate the degree of his wealth. Agamemnon swore a formal oath upon his scepter to give reparations to Achilles. Diomedes said that Agamemnon was not given “strength to stand in battle. divine) authority. 9.This notion of aristocratic council members having the ability to question Agamemnon’s command is demonstrated again in Book 9 of the Iliad. 110 111 Iliad. trans.251: “Father Zeus will not aid Trojan perjury. but also the ability to fight bravely. Lombardo. which was his natural right in assembly. 4.” 29 .35ff. in the case of the skeptron. 113 In Book 4. Lombardo.

116 115 30 .101-107: “…Then among them Lord Agamemnon/holding a staff that Hephaestus had crafted. 118 Iliad. their position in the aristocracy. while perhaps very powerful. 4. In Book 2 of the Iliad.” 117 Even though many kingdoms in Greece during the Mycenaean Age were subject to Mycenaean rule. Lombardo. 9: Finley states that Homer describes “the Greeks” with multiple names. but speakers did not normally use the scepter as a way of speaking in the council. simply stands 115. is not complete because of the nature of Greece itself. while the act of standing itself represented the authority to speak. a short counterclockwise spiral in part of northern Greece. trans. It is more likely then that the “staff”. 118 In Book 4 of the Odyssey. Menelaus told Telemachus that he would have given Odysseus a city in Argos. in Book 2. 119 Homer. the horse-driver/and Pelops handed it on to Atreus/and when Atreus died he left it to Thyestes/ and Thyestes left it for Agamemnon to bear/ in order to rule over many islands and all of Argos. Finley. because if it did.Agamemnon did call assemblies. why it necessarily would not have been done in this way nor does this assortment seem to suggest a general “geological arrangement”. Lombardo. 2. Stanley Lombardo (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. 119 Iliad. however.624ff. 39-40. 2000). was a regal authority and did not necessarily represent a procedural characteristic. trans. a counterclockwise spiral from Crete via Rhodes and Kos to Karpathos. after clearing it out completely. containing the Catalog of Ships. Diomedes was the chief commander of the forces from the Argolid. Iliad. Perseus. 116 This regal authority. son of Cronos./Hephaestus had given it to Zeus. but kings still held regional authority either through past glory. for example.81. illustrating Greece’s cultural diversity. Odyssey. trans. It had a “geographical arrangement: a clockwise spiral around central and southern Greece. though he was subject to the command of Agamemnon. 2. or by the regions they ruled over. they were individual kingdoms (as they would be in later periods as well). 117 Agamemnon might have been first among kings. 2. He suggests that the Catalog relates to later lists of “ambassadors from a major shrine” but does not discuss it further. though Agamemnon rose with his “ancestral staff”. This is why it is unlikely that the Catalog started out as a list of contingents that sailed from Greece or that fought at Troy./and Zeus in turn gave it to Argeïphontes [Hermes]/and Hermes to Pelops. why would they be listed in geographical order of origin?” It is not clear.182186. settling his entire family and people there. See Dalby. and as such had their own customs. given to him by the immortals. Nestor. Andrew Dalby mentions that parts of the Catalog of Ships were added in different time periods.

that they were “nothing in battle and in council (οὔτέ ποτ᾽ ἐν πολέμῳ ἐναρίθμιος οὔτ᾽ ἐνὶ βουλῇ). one king. who were not in the council. Lombardo. has the authority to call and dismiss assemblies. not the kingship). even translates to “the one who protects the polis”. He also. makes many of the military decisions. Odysseus’ son and heir (though merely to his oikos. ᾧ δῶκε Κρόνου πάϊς ἀγκυλομήτεω σκῆπτρόν τ᾽ ἠδὲ θέμιστας. Odysseus tried to calm the frightened Greek troops after Agamemnon had said that the army should return to Greece.” and that: οὐκ ἀγαθὸν πολυκοιρανίη: εἷς κοίρανος ἔστω. in order to hold counsel over them. Iliad. like Achilles. 123 The Odyssey is much more procedural in its assembly process. 122 Iliad. While Priam is the king of the Trojans. 2. a common soldier. 123 Scully. 122 Hector’s name itself.In Book 2 of the Iliad. the one whom Zeus. εἷς βασιλεύς. ἵνά σφισι βουλεύῃσι “The rule of many is not a good thing: let there be one ruler. trans. A formal assembly was called by Telemachus.923-924. possibly because assemblies in the Iliad were called during a state of war and involved different political entities. spoke disrespectfully to Agamemnon and the other troops in the assembly. 59. 31 . has given the skeptron and law. 2.204-206. as Scully argues.” 120 After Thersites. He took Agamemnon’s scepter and told the “ordinary” (non-aristocratic) soldiers. It is not certain whether Odysseus beat Thersites because he spoke in the assembly (which is more likely) or because he spoke ill of Agamemnon. son of Cronos the crooked in counsel. to discuss a gathering of Ithacans to combat the suitors who were consuming his fortune. 121 The Trojans similarly had assemblies. Odysseus used the skeptron to beat him. 2. Succession in Homeric poetry is a complex 120 121 Iliad. Hector.286-287. trans. Perseus. Priam’s son. though a central authority is more difficult to identify. Lombardo.

such as prominence. Eurymachus. 11. but Antiphus. Later. such as immortality. states: 124 125 Finley. Odysseus’ father. over his father’s home. it is not necessarily the only thing relating to authority. 47. judging disputes while “holding a golden scepter (χρύσεον σκῆπτρον ἔχοντα)”. but it would logically follow that Minos. in Book 11. one of Zeus’ sons. will be discussed in the next chapter. 32 . just as Telemachus would inherit some of Odysseus’. will never die but his powers can be transmitted to his sons. spoke first to ask who called the assembly. in relation to a polis./ἥμενον. Minos was a king and a son of Zeus. Odyssey. edit. Telemachus does not receive governing power over either Ithaca or. while the staff does relate to procedural authority./χρύσεον σκῆπτρον ἔχοντα. Zeus’ son and king of the Minoan Empire.perseus. a suitor. as an immortal. though whether this means “regal leadership” is unclear. he was. would inherit some of Zeus’ powers (in this case his power of good counsel).tufts.568-570: ἔνθ᾽ ἦ τοι Μίνωα ἴδον. Minos was one of the only “judges”. Odysseus travels to the Underworld and sees Minos. sitting as judge. the ruler of the underworld. Zeus. though Telemachus might not immediately receive governmental power upon Odysseus’ death. an aristocrat.” Tufts University.40ff. as it seems by the suitors’ persistence. Zeus. at the very least. 127 Theorists might infer from other events in ancient history that. 2010. but his lineage and Zeus’ relationship to judgment is applicable to this discussion. The power of Ithaca does not revert back to Laertes. Gregory R.subject. Crane.01. Lombardo. Finley correlates Ithaca to a “hiatus in political leadership” during this post-Trojan War period. trans. 124 At the assembly. for example. In Book 1 of the Odyssey. 126 While we might expect to see Hades. οἱ δέ μιν ἀμφὶ δίκας εἴροντο ἄνακτα… 127 While there were many sons of Zeus that were kings.0135. 125 This implies that.θεμιστεύοντα νέκυσσιν. preferred above others. Minos should not be discussed inclusively with his siblings merely because of his presence in this scene. http://www. 126 Odyssey. Last Modified October 22. Διὸς ἀγλαὸν υἱόν. a herald named Peisenor gave a staff to Telemachus to speak. “Perseus Digital Library. Even when Odysseus is missing-in-action. either.

Perseus. Enforcement implies that society recognize some kind of authority. in truth. Lombardo. which. 130 Odyssey. Odyssey. was a formal public spot. Nestor is described as “holding a scepter (σκῆπτρον ἔχων)” while Telemachus spoke to him.” 130 Law cannot merely be procedural. p.412. 1. King Alcinous led him to the assembly area. as previously discussed. these things. Perhaps regal authority was given back to him after Agamemnon was killed by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus or perhaps authority reverted back to him after the Trojan War was over? While authority might have reverted to individual kings after the Trojan War. When Odysseus arrived in Phaeacia. 8. trans. 129 Nestor is not mentioned as holding a scepter. Perseus.46-47: σκηπτοῦχοι literally translates to “scepter-holding” but. Perseus. Who of the Achaeans will rule sea-girt Ithaca: But may you hold your possessions and be lord of your house.“Τηλέμαχ᾽. in the Iliad. 33 . assumed the role of “judge”. but is in the Odyssey. 8.” 128 In Book 3 of the Odyssey. μὴ γὰρ ὅ γ᾽ ἔλθοι ἀνὴρ ὅς τίς σ᾽ ἀέκοντα βίηφιν κτήματ᾽ ἀπορραίσει. Alcinous said. These authorities. since people who are sceptered are described as leaders or kings. followed by/the sceptered men (ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας ἡγήσατο. While men live in Ithaca. built next to the harbors. For may no man ever come who steals your possessions by force or unwillingly. ἦ τοι ταῦτα θεῶν ἐν γούνασι κεῖται. it did not mean they could not still be subjugated to a higher power. a more substantially translation might be “sceptered kings” as Lombardo accepts in his translation (Odyssey.400-404. But how were these authorities chosen to settle disputes? In Herodotus’ 128 129 Odyssey. It must be enforced. either physically or by epithet. ὅς τις ἐν ἀμφιάλῳ Ἰθάκῃ βασιλεύσει Ἀχαιῶν: κτήματα δ᾽ αὐτὸς ἔχοις καὶ δώμασιν οἷσιν ἀνάσσοις. After Alcinous’ decision to aid Odysseus.50). 107. even though a central authority in early literature is unclear. 3. in this case. are those on the knees of the gods. Ἰθάκης ἔτι ναιετοώσης…” “Telemachus. τοὶ δ᾽ ἅμ᾽ ἕποντο/σκηπτοῦχοι…). “He led the way.

the law was in the hands of wealthy families. writing appropriated power from the magistrates and noblemen. the legal system became inadequate. trans. were publicly displayed in order to assert the authority of the polis rather than an individual 131 132 Herodotus.96-101. 132 Society only required that Deioces focus on procedure and fairness. Ibid.521-548. he gave written decisions to litigants from his palace. Deioces was chosen by the litigants of cases and. laws. because he settled disputes fairly. his reputation grew. 1996). rather than punishment for an infraction. he was elevated to the position of king and the way in which he administered justice changed. 134 Finley. 133 Iliad. trans.Histories. 134 As the society grew. The Histories.. 135 Presumably. but the fact that laws were made public. Lombardo. Writing became fundamentally important in this stage of development. however. leading to civic turmoil. The same basic theory is evident in Book 18 of the Iliad concerning Achilles’ shield which depicted two men arguing at a marketplace. Since the main social unit was the oikos. Eventually.” 34 . then. by a man named Mycerinus. the importance of written law was not only the fact that they were written and therefore fixed. 131 Herodotus described a similar ascension in Egypt. and justice became a matter of public concern. and acquired new complexities. who would have administered the law inequitably to the lower classes.129. Aubrey de Sélincourt (London: Penguin Books. While there are many theories which discuss the political implications of having written laws. Instead of hearing cases in public. 2. 1. they promised to submit to arbitration and pay two measures of gold to the elder whom they thought to have the most “straight forward” decision. especially homicide law. 52: “The norms which governed society were defined and removed from the arbitrary interpretation of powerful men. 133 Law emerged from the post-Mycenaean era in a privatized form. 18. 74. 135 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. After consulting a council of elders.

the army acted as a kind of assembly. not “Homeric”) soon followed. “The figure of the lawgiver is a response to this double need to curb the power of the aristocracy and maintain the force of customary law. for more information on different lawgivers see Lacey. or “lawgivers. Oswyn Murray states. and the lower classes clamored for some kind of equality. A newer assembly (i. such as the archons in Athens or the kings in Sparta. 137 The “assembly” was not an active participant in decision-making (unlike its classical counterpart). as Finley states. 19-21. Early Greece. For instance. in order to incorporate other social elements of society. Since competition among families increased with the availability of men and wealth. Rhodes.” were not necessarily part of the aristocracy but were often associated with lower classes or foreigners to the specific polis. 35 . The Greek City States. an assembly coupled with a “council” of older. instigated by the demos. no evidence exists before the fifth century that the laws were under the control of one social group or that written laws are more or less “fair” than oral ones. 15.e. 138 Murray. only approving or disapproving of a matter brought to them as a classical assembly would. they could not agree among themselves who would write down the laws. were the instrument of decision-making measures. This theory illustrates problems of continuity. the assembly required a “relatively settled. More importantly.. though the notion of having an assembly at all reflected a later evolution. 173. Later in the Archaic and especially in the Classical periods.” 138 Lawgivers represented the importance of reform and the emergence of political strife. The people who wrote down the laws. but for its creation. stable community made up of many households and kinship groups…” 136 In the Mycenaean period. more aristocratic men and higher governmental positions. there was not 136 137 Finley. 20.

“Formal judicial procedures went hand in hand with the establishment of the polis itself. decreased the political importance of the family. the polis decreased the power of the archaic family system and established itself as a sovereign entity. 140 From this situation Gagarin correctly states. Early Greece. Because of wealth and an increase of population. demonstrated by the establishment of tyrannies. it was inevitable that as the citizen body would increase. Murray. 123. and defined a person’s identity through an obligatory political community. 135. regulation concerning the lower classes would increase. the polis now controlled economic activity. as in Corinth. 139 Unfortunately. 36 . the power of the aristocracy remained somewhat unchecked.” 141 The polis also transformed the law into something compulsory for citizens from the older voluntary version in Herodotus’ discussion of Deioces. laws themselves were made to lessen the severity of civil strife and shift the responsibility of the law from the private to the public sphere. 65. trade with foreign countries made individual poleis rich. 139 140 Gagarin. Increasing its regulative role over citizens. Through procedural law and the inadequacies of an older system.necessarily any widespread democratic or participatory sentiment by lower classes when these laws were made. While some of the laws enacted might have prima facie benefited lower classes. 141 Gagarin. In the mid-eighth century.

“represent in the Iliad the metaphysical aspect” and are not rooted in ‘legend’. was central to almost every aspect of ancient Greek life. and that is the result…of a long history of development and conscious organization. 11.S. 143 Scully. mythology can also define the polis. ‘folktale’ (p. But what is the validity of mythological references as source material? A myth. is not a uniform story. 142 In fact. 143 Even specific characteristics of the polis. describing it as “immortally and mortally constructed as well as divinely and humanly defended”. Myth: Its Meanings. of no firmly established form. according to Kirk. in 142 37 . In particular they are substantially lacking in that obsession with the rules of social organization that is conspicuous in the myths of savage cultures. In some ways they are less informative than most…” 144 While Kirk is skeptical about how myths are used to recognize aspects of ancient societies.37) relates that his definition of a folktale is incomplete: “traditional tales. being anthropomorphic. 33: Kirk makes a definitional distinction between ‘myth’. 144 Kirk. in general. such as city walls and the agora. 145 Kirk. Kirk. “Greek myths provide no better an instance of what myths quintessentially are than other extensive cultural sets. the gods. The Nature of Greek Myths. described all aspects of Greece. Myths do contain “clear functional relevance” and. Myth: Its Meaning. in which trials were held.Mythology: Olympus as a Model Myth. Myth: Its Meanings. G. it is “multiform” and “imaginative” and should be treated as such. Kirk states. 26: “Greek myths are strangely limited in their themes. were divinely protected and sacred. therefore. 16. The gods. but are depicted with the least amount of fantasy possible. evident in both the Homeric and other corpora.” 145 Kirk. 8. he does not disregard them but attempts to define and reorganize mythological dogma. According to Stephen Scully. including aspects of the polis. Kirk mentions that Homeric references come “within the range of myth” but “seem[s] to have no religious component[s] whatever”. mythological references are important but should not be used without some kind of knowledge concerning their origins and nature.

in Classics. Perseus. just as is suitable (…κεῖνος δὲ τὰ ἃ φρονέων ἐνὶ θυμῷ/Τρωσί τε καὶ Δαναοῖσι 38 . do have merit simply for the amount of textual material if nothing else. they are not primarily concerned with ‘serious’ subjects or the reflection of deep problems and preoccupations. Kirk describes the way in which he chooses to deal with Greek myths much later in his discussion (p. and their first appeal lies in their narrative interest”. 8. Kirk relates that he believes Greek myths “are quite heavily polluted in the form in which we know”. is a difficult term to define. 40. 147 So what does this mean for mythology? While Kirk’s disdain for an anthropological use of mythology does have merit. 50. showing marks of “progressive remodeling”. however. 2.636. I believe that readers should look at these contradictions not as follies but as Kirk’s way of describing paradoxical aspects of ancient mythological source material. but these references. and though “certain details of contemporary life may intrude”. that contradict theories of his. It might be described. like polis. Ancient poets constantly represent Zeus as the central authority in assemblies and trials. unless the myth has been strongly complicated by legend”. 149 Most of Zeus’ judgments were designed to maintain which supernatural elements are subsidiary. his theory’s main flaw is not in its thought process but in its application. Kirk is an exacting and highly competent scholar who not only poses his own theories but deconstructs other scholarly theories to an extent that is unmatched (though not exactly charitable or complementary).) and ‘legend’ which is rooted in “actuality”. one that achieves an understanding of an inner essence by the analytical description of outward appearances”.430-431: “…and let him [Zeus] decide by his own heart/ between Trojans and Greeks.172): “…mine [my way] is determined by the need to define its [myth’s] total qualities. I believe. somewhat pretentiously.. 149 Iliad. 148 Kirk. 173. 147 Ibid. let alone apply. the general qualities of Greek myths are more likely to emerge from a synoptic assessment than from precarious attempts at piecemeal restoration”. as a phenomenological approach.. he also relates that if the reader “remains aware of this complexity.Myths take place in “a timeless past”. Myth (muthos). as well as Homeric and other poetry. and he was often compared to Odysseus (or Odysseus to Zeus: …Διὶ μῆτιν ἀτάλαντος) as “good in council”. There are some areas in his discussions. 146 While Kirk’s dissection of general mythology seems plausible. these intrusions are “superficial. Iliad. 146 Ibid. 148 Mythological references do have their downfalls in terms of validity. Myth: Its Meanings. Perseus.

when Persephone and Aphrodite both wanted control of Adonis. This judgment allowed Zeus to keep his pact with both Thetis and Achilles. like Zeus. 324. 3. μάλιστα δὲ μητίετα Ζεύς. 2003).). trans. she could not interfere. ironically. a third with Persephone and a third with Aphrodite. 1997). He agreed but told Hera that. This angered Hera because she had allied herself with the Greeks. Hymn to Hermes. The Library of Ancient Greek Mythology. Similarly.4. 150 In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. greatest in counsel (…πάρ᾽ ἔμοιγε καὶ ἄλλοι/οἵ κέ με τιμήσουσι. introducing a new god into the divine hierarchy. Lombardo. while also appeasing Hera and Athena. Last Modified October 22. Zeus judged that Adonis’ year should be divided into three parts: a third spent by himself.367ff. Achilles’ mother as well as Zeus’ former love interest. and Zeus heard both sides.the status quo among factions of gods. ὡς ἐπιεικές). 151 Jules Cashford. changing the status quo. the power among the gods by. Thetis. Perseus. When Achilles’ honor was called into question by Agamemnon. 39 . trans. or mediate between. an assembly was Perseus%3Atext% 3A1999. “Perseus Digital Library. trans. Hymn to Hermes. 152 Apollodorus. edit. if he himself wanted to destroy a city.tufts.01. 1. 152 δικαζέτω. 1.0137%3 Ahymn%3D4. asked for justice for her son and Zeus promised to maintain Trojan victories until Achilles was honored.”.14. “Where the scales of justice lie (κεῖθι γὰρ ἀμφοτέροισι δίκης κατέκειτο τάλαντα)”. Iliad. The Homeric Hymns (London: Penguin Books. Hera asked Zeus to let her interfere with the war so that the Greeks would not be destroyed and so Achilles could keep his honor.” 150 Iliad.” Tufts University. 2010. Crane. 151 On Olympus. in allowing this. but was made to protect the status quo of. His ruling for both Apollo and Hermes to look for Apollo’s stolen cattle was not essential.174: “…with me [Agamemnon] are other men/that will honor me. Later.perseus. though it is not stated by whom. Apollo brought Hermes to Zeus and Olympus. http://www. 324. even if it was loved by her. demonstrating his judicial power. Robin Hard (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gregory R.

Ida. but must also adhere to the laws of the gods and the authority of Zeus. frequently mingled among humans. ἐπιστρωφῶσι πόληας. Zeus called an assembly to allow the gods to participate in the war so that Achilles might not overwhelm Troy and cause its destruction. other gods still held authority in other areas of life. Antinous in the Odyssey illustrates this behavior when he harms Odysseus who was disguised as a beggar and traveler. is a heavenly god. 8.44-50.” “Antinous.483-487. Perseus. an authority should 153 154 Iliad. hitting that miserable beggar. in mythology. Lombardo. ἀνθρώπων ὕβριν τε καὶ εὐνομίην ἐφορῶντες. Iliad. οὐλόμεν᾽. The Iliad and Odyssey also represent substantive laws. but which seems mostly practical. as Zeus does. like other kings that still held a kingship under Agamemnon. Being counted as all kinds.1ff. οὐ μὲν κάλ᾽ ἔβαλες δύστηνον ἀλήτην. trying to discover which mortals were behaving decently and which were not. 153 This passage represents Zeus as the central authority but.” 155 A good king. The other suitors replied: “Ἀντίνο᾽. καί τε θεοὶ ξείνοισιν ἐοικότες ἀλλοδαποῖσι. Lombardo. Seeing the ones that [live by] hubris and [by] good law. 8. 155 Odyssey. 17. perhaps. has an authority over the lands he governs. Doomed.In Book 8 of the Iliad. Gods. παντοῖοι τελέθοντες. trans. 154 Zeus was not the only one who governed laws. εἰ δή πού τις ἐπουράνιος θεός ἐστιν. trans. driving a chariot and taking it to his sanctuary on Mt. therefore. Zeus called an assembly to reaffirm his hegemony by challenging other gods to a feat of strength. you did not do a good thing. The Iliad even represented Zeus as an aristocrat. 40 . haunting different cities. if he. And the gods often resemble foreign strangers. in Book 20. Later.

The Homeric hymns themselves were most likely composed by multiple authors. 1983). 158 For more discussion on the subject of Dimini. 33-44. Calame. Perseus. not necessarily for each side but overtly generalized for each class. Hitchcock. 1984). Zeus was “sitting separate from the other gods/on the highest peak of many-ridged Olympus (εὗρον δὲ Κρονίωνα θεῶν ἄτερ ἥμενον ἄλλων/ἀκροτάτῃ κορυφῇ πολυδειράδος Οὐλύμποιο)”. ending with the king who occupied the top of the site. 1999). 2001). its hierarchical manifestation was similar. These hill sites demonstrate different levels of hierarchical groups. Like a walled city. 2nd Edition (Berkeley: University of California Press. For more discussion of the Athenian Acropolis. see John Camp. When the gates opened. 20. Aegean Art and Architecture (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 159 The gods are the subjects of the hymns. therefore. Olympus had limited access. 157 Architectural finds at Dimini and in the Mycenaean megaron on the Athenian Acropolis supports this hierarchical structure seen in Homeric texts. it is not the focus of this discussion and will. either side or the state? While I do agree that this is a significant topic.treat people according to class.753-754. The Justice of Zeus. 5. 158 While the system of government represented by the megaron was quite different from that of a polis. Olympus even had similar physical characteristics of a polis. this was not unanimously accepted nor was the Homeric corpus used as such. 157 Iliad. 156 This theory of justice will evolve to be defined as a balance between lower and upper socio-economic classes so that court decisions are fair. 14-20. Though it was thought in antiquity that Homer wrote the hymns. see Donald Preziosi & Louise A. represented by “automatic gates (αὐτόμαται πύλαι)” which were controlled by “the Hours”. 4: dates the hymns generally to 700-500 BCE. 156 41 . The Archaeology of Athens (London: Yale University Press. For more information. Traditional Themes and the Homeric Hymns (Chicago: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. see Hugh Lloyd-Jones. while upholding respect and honor. 159 Cora Angier Sowa. be respectfully excluded. Does it mean the balance between classes? Does it have to be fair to one side. as the differences in language and structure among the hymns suggests. 2. but the This theory says nothing about the notion of “justice” and that is because the term “justice” is inherently unclear.

Again. 163 Ibid. the poet can decide for himself new ways of descriptive dialogue taken from older versions or those already in existence. 163 160 161 Kirk. such as the hymns to Hermes and Apollo. as well as mortal invocation in order to gain favor from divinities.. Homeric Apocrypha. 2003). 160 Personality. 162 Sowa. the hymns are formulaic and therefore “share certain similarities…particularly in their formulae of beginning and ending”. Using this theory can explain why certain hymns are so similar to each other in form but not necessarily content. Martin L.god or goddess themselves might not be what is being discussed. 42 . West. Homeric Hymns. The long hymns. when a formula for “expressing a particular idea” does not exist. and Lives of Homer (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. the poet can “create a new phrase ‘by analogy’ with one that does exist in his repertoire”.. 162 In other words. 4. 2. but perform those routine duties of protection…to which attention has been drawn”. she begins to describe them in terms of plot types. 7. and function is central to the hymns. trans. the hymns themselves can be divided into “long” versus “short” hymns. 192. seemingly negating or undermining shorter hymns that relate to invocations. represent an extended narrative in order to enhance a general meaning of the subject matter as well as to entertain. Kirk remarks that “most of the gods engage in few actions that are unique and memorable. Sowa. In terms of descriptive function. While Sowa’s work on the Homeric Hymns is invaluable. because of the differences in each performance. When discussing Greek mythological references. or what their character allows them to do. as Sowa states. the hymns were somewhat formulaic in their structure but. 5. 161 As Sowa indicates. The short hymns are mere invocations or limited summaries of mythical references that reinforce deified spheres of influence and describe typical activities. Myth: Its Meanings.

Diane J. 24. Last Modified October 22. 164 Though its dating is very late.perseus. Gregory R. edit. 167 though these two 164 West. “Perseus Digitial Library. abhorred yet required. Homeric Hymns. Hymn to Athena 2-3. Vol. he was feared yet revered. such as Hermes as a thief or Zeus as a judge. therefore. this was most likely used to promote his position as a powerful ruler and as a suitable husband for Persephone. The Homeric Hymns (Berkeley: University of California Press. 20. http://www. 165 West. Homeric Hymns. epithet or governing realms in order to provide a necessary justification for either an act or story. she loves the deeds of war/ the sacking of cities. 167 Rayor. 165 this hymn was added to the corpus in the first place because it reflects certain aspects of the other hymns. in trying to identify characteristics of deities.” Tufts University. as a character in the Homeric Hymns. see M. 30. the similarities between Athena and Ares seem paramount and are even explicit in Hymn 11 to Athena. Hades uses the patronymic “son of Cronos” that Zeus usually monopolizes. (May 1970): 300-304. daughter of Demeter who is the daughter of Cronos. West.. “The Eighth Homeric Hymn and Proclus”. together with Ares. lines 2-3: “Terrible she is. Often different gods are joined to one another through story. Sowa explains that. 43 . the gods determine the way the story will turn out. though a date as early as the third century BCE has been suggested. Hymn to Athena (11).L. ᾗ σὺν Ἄρηι μέλει πολεμήια ἔργα/περθόμεναί τε πόληες ἀϋτή τε πτόλεμοί τε)”. 2004). West calls the hymn’s “migration” into this collection an “accident”. the battle and battle-cries…(δεινήν. always a “catch” when discussing someone as paradoxical as Ares. 189 fn 53. Crane. Ares. but has as its nucleus a basic concept that determines which themes will gravitate to it”. linking it to its counterparts. In many of the hymns. trans. Rayor.Ares is a paradoxical god with relation to the polis.01. p. promotes this safeguarding and upright depiction of himself and the polis. 139. 17. 2010. however. 166 In other words. For example. Calame. While Hades is indeed the son of doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999. This tactic of “linkage” is a constant theme throughout the hymns. role similarities between different deities prove to be complicated.tufts. Who they are as characters will determine the theme. There is. The Hymn to Ares is particularly problematic because of its dating. 166 Sowa. and though Martin L. ascribed to Proclus in the fifth century CE.0137%3Ahymn%3D11. in Hymn 2 to Demeter. immortals are not the “sum total of all themes of which he or she is the subject.90. For more information on the hymn to Ares and its migration into the Homeric Hymns. #1. The Classical Quarterly. not the other way around.

44 .. he. Athena and Ares are individual characters and should not be thought of as an interchangeable unit. Rayor. Though normally portrayed as a bloodthirsty marauder. was also the protector of the home at night and of dreams. Hymn to Ares. domestic life. Hestia the goddess of the hearth and fixed. 148. while Hermes is the god of travel and trickery. and a leader “of the most just”. When Ares’ daughter. Ares represented part of what a mortal should aspire to. as Rayor states. Poseidon’s son. each illustrating opposing aspects of life. 169 Another pair. similar. 170 Even though both of these pairs of deities seem fundamentally at odds with one another. 32. “Similarity and interchangeability of role are not in themselves sufficient to prove identity. was being raped by Halirrhothios. See Appendix A for Greek. As Sowa states. in which 168 169 Sowa. Ares caught Halirrhothios and killed him. Alcippe. Poseidon brought Ares to a trial of the twelve gods.” 168 Even though similar. linking both of these deities together. the “rampart of Olympus”. In response. While Ares is a personification for strength in Hymn 8. represents “manly strength (using six different words for ‘strong’ alone)”. Hestia and Hermes. 1-6. Hermes. also seem very dissimilar. 171 The juxtaposition of the cities of men to Olympus implies that the two are.figures are usually at odds in ancient literature. Ares can also defend and submit to laws. justice or being proficient in council and strength in battle (which is Ares’ primary function) were frequently connected. at the very least. their interconnectivity between certain realms should not be overlooked. 139. 171 Cashford. As previously discussed (Diomedes’ speech in the Greek assembly at Troy). In the Hymn to Ares. however. 170 Ibid. Ares is described as the guardian of cities.

represented two boundaries of the polis. is divided between Zeus and Athena. 173 Ares’ warlike and vicious attitude certainly did not make him a sympathetic character in the epics.Ares was acquitted. Deified Wealth was a child of Demeter./ἔχθιστος δέ μοί ἐσσι θεῶν οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν:/αἰεὶ γάρ τοι ἔρις τε φίλη πόλεμοί τε μάχαι τε. Zeus responded. the metaphysical boundary of a polis. he is a paradoxical god which can be defined by multiple sources instead of just the Homeric epics. trans. Demeter and Ares. She had dominion over farmland of a community which. 172 173 Apollodorus. West. “Do not sit here in any way by me and whine. 3. and. the two are many times inseparable. you are the most hateful to me:/for strife and war and fighting is dear to you (μή τί μοι ἀλλοπρόσαλλε παρεζόμενος μινύριζε.889-891: After Ares was wounded by Diomedes. because of Ares’ dual natures (protector versus marauder). wealth allowed families to gain political and judiciary prestige. He is just. is one of the two major boundaries of a polis. Law. plague of men (Γοργοῦς ὄμματ᾽ ἔχων ἠδὲ βροτολοιγοῦ Ἄρηος)”. Demeter too had an attractive role to the polis. became known as the “Areopagus” after Ares himself. without “wealth”. favoring war over peace.” 175 Theogony.14.). he normally had a chaotic side to his personality. 45 . 172 The area. Unfortunately. and is a defender of the city. Perseus. in which the trial was held.2. 174 Iliad. Iliad. 175 In a reciprocal relationship. communities would not be able to build walls. 969-974. In fact. 8. as will be discussed later. Perseus. The countryside was where most people made their livelihoods through agriculture./Of all the gods Olympus holds. common sanctuary sites or create political units based on socioeconomic classes. adheres to laws.349. is brave. Ares seems to be the embodiment of a polis. then. the Iliad even describes Hector as “having the eyes of a Gorgon or of Ares. From these two texts. 5. Athena was born from Zeus’ head and therefore. even hated by Zeus 174. but Hymn 8 and Apollodorus’ depiction are complementary sources to those of the Homeric epics.

24. strong. Zeus. poets describe him as the bringer of peace and of victory. told the gods that they would “have them [fathers and clients of suitors] forget the killing of their sons and brothers (ἡμεῖς δ᾽ αὖ παίδων τε κασιγνήτων τε φόνοιο/ἔκλησιν θέωμεν:…). Zeus was the central authority who allowed for stable peace. convinced by Athena to aid him. 46 . 176 Optimistically. citing a passage in the Odyssey (7. Odyssey.While the other gods and goddesses (with the exception of Zeus) seem to be less closely related to the polis. Hesiod describes Zeus as “the king in heaven” and: …οἱ δέ τε λαοὶ πάντες ἐς αὐτὸν ὁρῶσι διακρίνοντα θέμιστας 176 177 Scully. 177 While it was Athena who physically helped Odysseus throughout the Odyssey. πλοῦτος δὲ καὶ εἰρήνη ἅλις ἔστω)”.81) that refers to Erechtheus in Athens. In the Theogony. just because archaeological evidence does not exist. just from her epithet Polias.484-486. Athena is the obvious choice for a polis protector. Scully mentions that. While he might not be directly involved with every peace and wartime decision. 34. assigning the power of other gods. Perseus. Zeus’ primary role in the polis was as a mediator and administrator. She is just. and cunning: all the things a Classical polis needs to protect and further its ambitions. Ithaca was in danger of war by supporters and family members of the suitors and Odysseus did not have enough men to fight them.” and proposed to “let them live in friendship as before and let peace and prosperity abound (…τοὶ δ᾽ ἀλλήλους φιλεόντων/ὡς τὸ πάρος. does not mean that Athena did not have this function. But did Athena have this role in the Bronze Age? Archaeological evidence does not argue for a “public cult of Athena Polias…who protected the Mycenaean wanax”. This theory is best illustrated in Book 24 of the Odyssey after Odysseus and Telemachus have killed the suitors.

ἰθείῃσι δίκῃσιν: ὃ δ᾽ ἀσφαλέως ἀγορεύων αἶψά κε καὶ μέγα νεῖκος ἐπισταμένως κατέπαυσεν: τοὔνεκα γὰρ βασιλῆες ἐχέφρονες. 84-90. Zeus watches over and can destroy all aspects of a polis-. defeating Cronos and the Titans. for when people Are harmed in their dealings they bring retribution Easily…” 178 As a king. Perseus. As a judge. The son of Cronos destroys their [bad men] wide army or city-walls. who could. or takes away their ships at sea”. 178 179 Theogony. therefore. according to Hesiod: …ἄλλοτε δ᾽ αὖτε ἢ τῶν γε στρατὸν εὐρὺν ἀπώλεσεν ἢ ὅ γε τεῖχος ἢ νέας ἐν πόντῳ Κρονίδης ἀποαίνυται αὐτῶν. 47 . A kingship. however.its boundaries (walls). citizens (army) and fleet. the princes are thoughtful (prudent). Zeus was also proficient in war.… “…everyone looks to him While he decides causes with right judgments: His word is secure and He skillfully puts an end to even the greatest argument at once: For. Work and Days. 245-247. Zeus was a punisher. οὕνεκα λαοῖς βλαπτομένοις ἀγορῆφι μετάτροπα ἔργα τελεῦσι ῥηιδίως. also has a weakness. at another time. “…but. Perseus. 179 In other words.

Though ancient authors do relate that some areas are poleis which were not “free”.Chapter 2 Theories The polis has been one of the most researched subjects in classics over the last 100 years. Combining a theoretical and concrete approach. Other theories. a society needed a certain amount of freedom from external wars and internal strife. and connected the citizenry of a polis with its outlying territory. Physical structures--such as urban and extra-urban sanctuaries. In other words. a polis can be described as “balance”. walls. logically. divided. Balance I argue that. to form a polis. to have any kind of thriving community. such as colonization and hoplite tactics. and harbors--protected. but are less applicable when discussing the initial development of the polis. such a community must have a balance between internal and external strife. I argue that a balance between external and internal influences facilitated the creation of the polis. 48 . there are many theories that scholars assert as the primary factor in the development of the polis. and because of this. besides its modern meaning of a “city-state”. as well as provided a local identity in order to legitimize boundary disputes or village incorporation. are applicable for creating an overall picture of the early polis.

His fragments can reflect significant concepts in the time period in which he wrote. and sometimes completely dissolved.The polis is linked with three important physical characteristics: a wall. at least somewhat. as well as moral philosophy.... while laws personified procedural impartiality. 49 . External strife (i. Heraclitus’ Fragments (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. such as political obedience and disobedience. in which different socio-economic classes collaborated in order to create a relatively balanced political society. and the effect they had upon the polis. facilitated trade and communication with other societies. tribal clashes. by the use of walls.e. Fragment 44. in a later fragment. According to Heraclitus. Heraclitus. was somewhat erratic because. regional disputes. etc. while also employing the sea as a source of wealth and stability. he described human nature as “not having the right understanding. Internal strife (i. procedural laws and a harbor. making it difficult to speculate on the topic without the benefit of context or complete text. 180 T.) was reduced. wars.e. not only the importance of a city wall but the protection of the populace by the law. in theory. Heraclitus. balance. “The people [citizens] should fight on behalf of the law as they would for their city wall (μάχεσθαι χρὴ τὸν δῆμον ὑπὲρ τοῦ νόμου ὅκωσπερ τείχεος)”. which were. Another characteristic was the implementation of harbors. 1987). divine nature does (ἦθος γὰρ ἀνθρώπειον μὲν οὐκ ἔχει γνώμας. the city wall was the embodiment of physical protection. 180 This fragment describes. trans. political or socio-economic strife) was stabilized by procedural laws. however. Modern theorists have only fragments of his writings. Harbors. wrote about strife. an ancient philosopher of the late sixth/early fifth century. Robinson.M. physically connected to the polis.

181 Since Fragment 44 is a definitive statement about human nature. 50 . Odysseus arrived at Phaeacia and: θαύμαζεν δ᾽ Ὀδυσεὺς λιμένας καὶ νῆας ἐίσας αὐτῶν θ᾽ ἡρώων ἀγορὰς καὶ τείχεα μακρὰ ὑψηλά.” The barley-drink represents the political unification of a polis. Perseus. Under first inspection. 7. At the meeting grounds. which are laws that correspond to the balancing of classes. Miletus. are physical characteristics of a successful society. “…marveled at the harbors and the shapely ships. balanced after being “stirred. Fragment 125: “Even the barley-drink separates if not stirred. 183 Ibid.θεῖον δὲ ἔχει)”. laws are the “spoon” stirring the society into chaos and eventually into balance. humans received the compulsion to “fight on behalf of laws as they would for their citywall” from the gods themselves. the divine law…” 182 The phrase “common to all (τῷ ξυνῷ πάντων)” refers to prescriptive rather than descriptive laws. Fragment 114. Fragment 78. corroborated by Thucydides.” Metaphorically. 183 Political strife is then necessary in order to create an equal protection for classes under the law. Laws were even described paradoxically because they were the representation of strife which bonded things together.” 184 Harbors. θαῦμα ἰδέσθαι. harbors might seem of secondary importance to a Greek polis. can be traced back to Homeric texts. 184 Odyssey. together with walls and an assembly. This interpretation is supported by Fragment 114 which states. however. and the long tall walls Topped with stakes. for example. 46.. a wonder to be seen. σκολόπεσσιν ἀρηρότα. In Book 7 of the Odyssey... Their importance. was one of the biggest and most successful poleis in the entire Greek world (until the Persians burned it after the 181 182 Ibid. Ibid.43-45. “[law] Which is common to all…For all human laws are nourished by one law. Scully.

259-267. The entrance is thin: The curved ships are drawn up on the road: For all have dock-yards [for their ships]. Giesecke. 6. 52. 24. the anti-polis was the island of the Cyclopes which had no harbors. trans. ἔνθα δέ τέ σφ᾽ ἀγορὴ καλὸν Ποσιδήιον ἀμφίς. Individual and Community. trans. 187 Odyssey. 11: Giesecke argues that Ithaca was actually the “ideal society” because of the poet’s lack of interest in the island and because of the contrast of Ithaca to the island of the Cyclopes. Perseus. ἣν πέρι πύργος ὑψηλός. αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν πόλιος ἐπιβήομεν. Fitted with large stones. λεπτὴ δ᾽ εἰσίθμη: νῆες δ᾽ ὁδὸν ἀμφιέλισσαι εἰρύαται: πᾶσιν γὰρ ἐπίστιόν ἐστιν ἑκάστῳ. “While we are going through the countryside and tilled farms of men. A good harbor is on either side of the city. τόφρα σὺν ἀμφιπόλοισι μεθ᾽ ἡμιόνους καὶ ἄμαξαν καρπαλίμως ἔρχεσθαι: ἐγὼ δ᾽ ὁδὸν ἡγεμονεύσω. Go with my handmaidens behind the mules and wagon Quickly: I will lead the way. and your land. Starr. 8. When we are about to go into the city. while preserving an urbanized cult. so that our ships/may take you there…” 187 In contrast. illustrated by Alcinous when he asked Odysseus. as de Polignac describes it. 51 . was a land which maintained a boundary between an urban and rural community. 188 Odyssey. καλὸς δὲ λιμὴν ἑκάτερθε πόληος. 188 While some harbors were physically connected to a city. assemblies or laws. Lombardo.106-115. ῥυτοῖσιν λάεσσι κατωρυχέεσσ᾽ ἀραρυῖα. one for each [man]. There is also an assembly around the good temple to Poseidon. such as the harbors of Ithaca or Sparta./your city.600-602. Ancient Greece. 9.” 186 Phaeacia therefore. 185 In the Odyssey. Nausicaa instructed Odysseus: ὄφρ᾽ ἂν μέν κ᾽ ἀγροὺς ἴομεν καὶ ἔργ᾽ ἀνθρώπων.Ionian Revolt) and it maintained no less than four harbors at its inception. others were completely separate. Odyssey. “…Tell me your country. Athens had a detached harbor until a 185 186 Cartledge. Lombardo. This separation between urban and rural was actually seen as commonplace. fit in deep. which has a high wall around it.

191 Piracy was commonly practiced and supported by Greek and barbarian aristocracies. 52 . especially on islands. surrounded by a wall/of unbreakable bronze. For example. 193 Ibid. were founded closer to the sea to facilitate commerce. 193 Before the advent of walls.2. Perseus. together with the physically defining walls and the social order represented by the agora. 1. This could. This.3-4: πλωτῇ ἐνὶ νήσῳ: πᾶσαν δέ τέ μιν πέρι τεῖχος/χάλκεον ἄρρηκτον. coastal cities without walls were normally the most affected because of their accessibility. 10. At the very least. however. were a vital entity of development. 190 Some groups.. as walls were becoming prominent. however. 46. 194 Odyssey. 192 Individual citizens of communities without walls carried arms to protect their lands. 189 Ancient sedentary societies normally relied upon agriculture to support their communities. 1.5.. instead of merely defending the entire community. Aeolia is described in the Odyssey as “…a floating island.6. 194 189 190 Scully. already being established in fertile lands. harbors allowed ships to visit other cities. which made it complicated for a community to maintain a surplus of wealth. 191 one was made under the direction of Themistocles. especially in island societies. be difficult to accomplish because of migrations and raids into fertile lands. 192 Ibid. also hindered trade and communications with other societies. λισσὴ δ᾽ ἀναδέδρομε πέτρη. running up sheer rock”. in order to increase personal wealth and gain clients. and. Newer townships. Thucydides. were constantly overthrown by internal quarrels. removing the possibility of sea raids. which was physically connected to the city by the Long Walls in the fifth century. Older towns were founded further inland. 1. the placement of townships was a struggle. While raids and piracy were common.

199 Unfortunately for Agamemnon’s empire.9.Regardless of walls. together with his younger brother Menelaus. 80 years after the Trojan War. 1. pillaging and gaining “shiploads” of treasure from Cyprus. 197 Thucydides. won the favor of the “people” and became king over the Mycenaeans. a wall encircling a city became a necessity. trans. piracy remained an ancient and respectable practice through the post-Mycenaean period. 199 Ibid. 1. as societies gained more wealth.85-96. for example. Phoenicia. after the battle of Troy. trans. Lombardo.12. Though discouraged about losing Agamemnon. other factions began appearing in other cities. 200 Ibid. 198 Pelops. founded new ones until the arrival of the Dorians and Heraklids. Egypt and Libya. Agamemnon. 197 The reciprocal relationship. was somewhat important in the Bronze Age. Pelops’ son. brought “great wealth” back from Asia to the Peloponnese and became a leader. he gloated about “amassing wealth” as he spoke to Telemachus. Some of these rivals were exiled from their cities and. as he was returning to Ithaca from Troy. 9. the grandfather of Agamemnon. 200 195 196 Odyssey. 4. 196 According to Thucydides. inherited his father’s empire.. Odyssey. 53 .42-45. 1. increased the navy and was able to subjugate lesser areas as clients. as discussed earlier and as epic poetry and mythology alludes to. Menelaus. 195 Odysseus too contributed to piracy and.. most likely because of the increase in fortunes of the last generation. Lombardo. he pillaged a town on Ismaros. in turn. 198 Ibid. wandered the Aegean Sea for eight years. Atreus. Some factions or “families” became so powerful that they were able to subjugate “lesser cities”. killed all the men of the town and divided the captured women and other wealth among his men.8.

while at odds with the Greeks. all central cities which are represented in the Odyssey or Iliad are walled. which Prince Hector was able to call and dismiss. “all dramatic scenes that concern the welfare of Troy are staged either upon the walls or at the city gates. tethered through servitude to Laomedon though having no political or kinship association.448-450: Poseidon expresses his disgust to Zeus. though archaeological evidence clearly defines them. which was considered irregular and somewhat impious. Ibid. For more discussion of the building of Troy’s walls see Apollodorus (1997). 203 In fact. 205 Iliad. Linguistically. Perseus.5. which seems to downplay their importance. 202 Troy. 53: Finley associates both Poseidon and Apollo with thetes.9.. οὐδὲ θεοῖσι δόσαν κλειτὰς ἑκατόμβας. as Scully explains.529: “…all around the city on our god-built walls.While the Iliad clearly defines the importance of walls as a defensive mechanism of the polis. 7.”. “Do you not see that the longhaired Achaeans/ have built for themselves a wall on both sides and trench around their ships/without offering famous hecatombs to the gods? (οὐχ ὁράᾳς ὅτι δ᾽ αὖτε κάρη κομόωντες Ἀχαιοὶ/τεῖχος ἐτειχίσσαντο νεῶν ὕπερ. 2. not within the city at Priam’s palace or Athena’s temple”. trans. This small list is limited because walls are not mentioned at Mycenae or Athens in the Homeric corpus. ἀμφὶ δὲ τάφρον/ἤλασαν. It had walls and an assembly. was also described as a polis by physical characteristics and by the Greek language itself. 48. and were given the epithet of “sacred walls”. Scully. 203 Iliad. 206 Iliad. trans. Lombardo. 7. 201 In fact. according to Scully. 21. Finley. a wall (teikhos) gains its importance in the Iliad from Poseidon after he states that he “cited Troy (πολίσσαμεν)” after building its walls. 8. 206 Not defending a divine wall was also considered cowardly as Hector indicates in this diatribe to Paris in Book 6: Scully. 41. 48. 205 The Greeks built walls around their ships but did not sacrifice to the gods.)” 202 201 54 . only nine cities are said to have been walled.543. Their walls even had a mythical foundation. 42. Lombardo. saying. 204 Walls themselves were seen as divine extensions of the gods.452f. 204 Scully. built by Apollo and Poseidon.

once again. you idiot! The people [of Troy] are dying around the polis and steep wall In fighting…” 207 In fact. the wall of the Achaeans. Perseus. 211 Destruction. φόως δ᾽ ἑτάροισιν ἔθηκεν “Ajax. The defensive ability of a polis was. Lombardo. 211 Iliad. 55 . friends. was the destruction of their walls.219. “darkness enveloped him [Echepolus] as he fell like a wall (τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψεν. subjected to raids and poverty. Iliad. that I’d raze Ilion’s walls before sailing home. and gave light to his comrades”. Perseus. son of Telamon.120ff: “Zeus is a hard god. After all his promises and nods my way. Broke the phalanx of the Trojans.461-462. when Antilochus killed Echepolus. therefore. 4. A wall’s strength was so important that being equated with it was a metaphor for being courageous and powerful. 2. as related by Agamemnon. trans. λαοὶ μὲν φθινύθουσι περὶ πτόλιν αἰπύ τε τεῖχος μαρνάμενοι… “This is not a good time to be nursing your anger. Perseus.326-328. 210 Iliad. 210 The metaphor was also used to express destruction. 6. This will be discussed further in Chapter 4.” 209 Iliad. 209 In Book 6: Αἴας δὲ πρῶτος Τελαμώνιος ἕρκος Ἀχαιῶν Τρώων ῥῆξε φάλαγγα. 6. the primary objective of the Trojan War. In Book 7: Αἴας δ᾽ ἐγγύθεν ἦλθε φέρων σάκος ἠΰτε πύργον “Ajax came near carrying a shield like a turreted wall”. In Book 4.δαιμόνι᾽ οὐ μὲν καλὰ χόλον τόνδ᾽ ἔνθεο θυμῷ. destroyed and the people. would be.5-6. 208 This demolition was symbolic of a complete capitulation. such as Ajax. characterized by the 207 208 Iliad. Perseus. 7./ἤριπε δ᾽ ὡς ὅτε πύργος…)”. if surviving.

by stating that it began when Greece was “permanently tranquil and its population was no longer subject to expulsion from their homes”.demolition of a wall. 212 These people became known as the Phaeacians and their land was. In the Odyssey. possibly. cutting them off from the sea completely. 214 Just as before. 1. a city. 56 ./καὶ νηοὺς ποίησε θεῶν. 12. Irene Polinskaya states that “nucleated walled settlements” started to emerge around 700 BCE (though Smyrna began almost 200 years earlier) in Argos. was at peace from both external and internal strife. founding a city went in tandem with building walls. some of the richer men began to gain control of cities. and Megara 212 213 Odyssey. Thebes.9-10.12. setting up tyrannies. In order for this to happen.” 214 Thucydides. when a surplus of wealth had been amassed. trans. And then hem their city in with a mountain. καὶ ἐδάσσατ᾽ ἀρούρας)”. and then “built houses and shrines and parceled out the fields (…καὶ ἐδείματο οἴκους. Iliad. as Thucydides explains. will be discussed later in the section on the evidence from the Peloponnesian War.160-170: Zeus gave advice to Poseidon that he should “wait until all of the people in the city see her [a ship] pulling into port. 213 The Phaeacians sacrificed bulls to Poseidon after he turned one of their ships into stone to have mercy on their city. Nausithous led his people to the island of Scheria where he first “walled off a city (ἀμφὶ δὲ τεῖχος ἔλασσε πόλει…)”. Perseus. Syracuse (though Syracuse is a colony of Corinth). wanted to encircle their land with a mountain wall. stone shaped like a ship. however. the purest example of a city-state in the Odyssey. Eretria. Lombardo. a marvel for all men. angry at the Phaeacians for helping Odysseus. 6. Poseidon.611-615. 8. Thucydides began his history with the period of colonization. and then turn her to stone.

Camp related a passage of Diodorus Siculus (14.. 218 Rhodes. is typified by the citizenry (using the Thucydidean model). which implies that there was already an established political unit that could undertake such a monumental project.1310 for the characteristics of tyranny. These specific sites. many walled settlements existed on Crete in this time period. as indicated by the etymology of their name. as well as Stephen Scully. which were equal to other classes through the law. a polis could not have been created. I agree with this opinion because. the balance between external and internal influences would have been disrupted.Hyblaia. such as Gortyn.” in Polis and Politics: Studies in Ancient Greek History. 5. while informative.77) that John Camp discusses “early historical” walled settlements on Crete.000) and parceled out to them the space to be walled. causing a static centralized environment rather than an environment which would have facilitated development. The Greek City States. however. edit. 45 in reference to Aristotle’s Politics. 216 Walls are large and expensive. comprise the workers. though remarks in a footnote that P. logically. 216 Ibid. without walls. describes walls as a sine qua non: without walls. shall become large and influential poleis in the Classical period. Polinskaya also states (p. but they still take power illegally. the tyrant of Syracuse. “Walls and the Polis.” 217 This example. Tyrants might take power through the will of the people. It also implies that the citizenry would be receptive because they would. 46. 55: “The word ‘tyrant’ (Greek: turannos) is non-Greek and probably of Lydian origin. (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 75: Polinskaya also believes that walls are a sine qua non though she admits that local variations prevent a panhellenic definition. Ancient Greece. Ducrey in a Copenhagen Polis Centre report argues “the opposite for the early period”. tyrants became the mediator between the state and the citizenry instead of procedural laws.P. 218 A polis. instead of one man maintaining rule 215 Polinskaya.” 57 . “gathered peasants from the countryside (60. 74. Cartledge. does not necessarily imply a “balanced” polis because tyrants dissolved any original internal balance a polis maintained and shifted the balance to them. 215 This is not an exhaustive list. Flensted-Jensen et al. in which Dionysios.18). John Camp II. 2000). however. 217 John Camp II.

Greeks did differentiate between urban. 219 Since sanctuaries did create physical boundaries between different areas of the domain of a polis. 177: Kosak remarks that many historians. Ralph M. while sanctuaries. After all. but this discussion only focuses on the development of societies which became poleis. both urban and extra-urban. as well as walls and sanctuaries. Hansen. states that walls did not constitute a boundary between the countryside and the urban area. Walls create a boundary between external forces and the polity. create a social cohesion between ‘the rural’ and ‘the urban’. and the Spatial in Classical Antiquity. What creates these boundaries is debatable. remarks that if walls did not constitute a boundary then sanctuaries as boundaries lose all meaning. but also to create a social cohesion between different groups of people. Polinskaya. Of course. Sanctuaries and Boundaries Boundaries can define the polis as they are used not only to maintain equilibrium between certain areas within and outside of a domain of a polis. 2006). Procedural laws and walls. although this differentiation. they did not distinguish between them with physical structures. The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill. in which a polis was able to be created. Rosen & Ineke Sluiter (Leiden. however. walls could very well have had the same prescriptive function. outlying areas with different words even if. such as Stephen Scully and John Camp.over his subjects. however. in City. existed. reflected a balance between internal and external strife. “The Wall in Aristophanes’ Birds”. 58 . Jennifer Clarke Kosak. state that “the wall” is a “fundamental marker of the city”. there are societies that built walls which were not poleis. Hansen’s theory 219 Polinskaya. I find it difficult to accept that. however. edit. assuming Hansen’s theory is correct. Countryside. 77. city areas and rural. these entities had nothing to do with one another when Greeks were notorious (at least philosophically) for ordering a disorderly world.

connect areas does not seem to have any textual support as well. they. Objects. which Scully partially corroborates.. in some cases. Janet Lloyd. Individual and Community. 220 While I do not subscribe to de Polignac’s entire theory. These resources either came from a collection of poleis acting 220 Francois de Polignac. 16. 221 Scully. and temples and sanctuaries were. naturally. 225 As these religious sites became more and more prominent. such as small pieces of pottery and certain metals. containing an altar. 222 Divine boundaries usually employed religious centers to define a territory. 224 Polignac. as many ancient authors. I do agree that a polis adapts its boundaries to define a civic identity and territory. 224 A “sacred space” evolved from these occurrences. 1995). by enclosing civilization…” 221 The advent of a physical or divine barrier also provided protection to the citizenry. that place which nurtures. from a very early period. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 222 Starr. 223 Before this defining movement. 223 Scully. 225 Ibid. such as Thucydides. A polis. 9. and the Origins of the Greek City-State. which had previously been used for functional purposes. 14-15. maritime trade supported religious areas surrounding an urban environment. Territory. a temple and a precinct wall that defined the boundaries between the “sacred” and the “mortal”. 47. trans. 59 . grew physically. according to Scully. Francois de Polignac. important for both protection and civic cohesion. 40. Cults. became solely used for votive offerings. and walls were eventually synonymous with divination either from epic poetry or from cults and shrines connected to the walls themselves. describe walls as essential for polis development.that walls did not create limits between or. is a “spatial and architectural entity.. defines the polis as a “new representation of space” or city territory and “the elaboration of a new civic community”. 51.

228 Scully. illustrating that a site’s religious function was secondary to a society’s desire for religious association. Snodgrass. 46. a society chose which religious rituals to use and emulate.. For more information on McInerney’s integrated economic model. Very few religious sites. in turn. seems to overlook physical religious authorities as physical markers. Polinskaya’s theory. the citizenry of a 226 227 Ibid. facilitated the need for defined boundary lines. though she relates that the Greeks never physically marked the difference between urban and rural areas with boundary concert or by one polis that held dominion over the area in which the site was located. Both Minoan and Mycenaean religion tended to favor either natural sites. the need for more rural territories for grazing (since it is difficult for an area to mix animal husbandry and agriculture) arose which. 53-56. 76: Polinskaya does seem to accept McInerney’s decomposition of the area controlled by a polis. deduces that. 228 McInerney decomposes the polis into both the astu (urban area) and the chora (rural area). 230 This “problem. 17.” however. 229 McInerney. facilitated the rise of the polis. “Origins”. according to de Polignac. I believe correctly. were resettled after the Bronze Age. 394-395: Snodgrass relates that “a place of worship in the Bronze Age Aegean was a very different thing from the great sanctuaries familiar from historical times. such as villages claiming association with a larger inclusive entity because of their common association with a sanctuary site. but the boundary lines must have been symbolic rather than physical. 25. for their cult”. poses a large problem for continuity between the Bronze and Archaic periods. 226 Therefore. by a site’s discontinuity. see McInerney. however. 19. There was some kind of relationship between them. McInerney. however. explains that a temple alone cannot explain the sacredness (which he relates to the definition of a territory) of an entire city. Polinskaya.. 230 Davies. as de Polignac concedes. demonstrates that. however. as the astu grew. or others that were insubstantial architecturally. pp. 229 Religious unity. which. Ibid. Regardless of physical religious presence. 60 . especially when it related to a larger polis controlling a weaker one. 25. “…the formation of the polis was accompanied by the development of large extramural [non-urban] sanctuaries…” 227 Scully.

the Heraion of the Argolid. several cities might share a religious site. 235 Polignac. The Birth of Athenian Democracy: The Assembly in the Fifth Century B. was in a “central spot…of the entire region”. 38: Artemis Limnatis by the Spartans and the Messenians. 41: Cartledge asserts that the building of this extra-urban sanctuary. but facilitated extra-urban activities through connecting the hinterland with an urban site and “resolved potential disputes over the land” because of its religious authority.. 233 In essence. 36. and Poseidon Onchestos by Thebes and Orchomenos. a non-urban site normally marked “the limit of a city’s control over the terrain. Ibid.. 1968). Forrest. 33: differentiates between the more ‘wild’ landscape and the urban area in order to facilitate control over boundary territories. 61 . 1990). 236 The temple of 231 232 Polignac. (New York: Oxford University Press. a sanctuary which is tantamount to a “religious system” not only provided a boundary from and a connection to boundary territories. The sanctuary acted as a boundary between a controlled. 234 For example.” 232 Extra-urban sites (farther beyond the city) marked the end of the agrarian society controlled by the polis. W. Mycenae and Tiryns. Chester G. it became a “symbolic representation” of Argos’ regional supremacy. 236 Polignac. 231 All these theories presuppose that a “community” controlled an entire area. 35. between Argos.polis chose which site would best personify its identity and this choice usually related to an Archaic institution with Bronze Age associations. 233 Ibid. There may have very well been a communal effort in building monumental architecture. McInerney. 234 McInerney. but what de Polignac defines as “community” is never clear.W. McInerney. Nevertheless. 34. Starr. 49. 31. Cartledge. 34: McInerney argues that these border sanctuaries facilitated cohesion through an area by means of border treaties linked to the god(s) of the border sanctuary. 235 If a city was not strong enough to hold the territory. as well as settlements in Larissa. A History of Sparta 950-192 BC (New York: W. 7. and.C. Norton & Company. 37: It is theorized that Argos gained supremacy of the Argolid after the destruction of Asine in 720/10 BCE. because of its central location. civilized land and unclaimed areas or neighboring territory. such as the temples of Artemis at Brauron and of Poseidon at Sunion in Attica.G. Ancient Greece. “constituted a key to the formation of Argos’s original identity as a polis”.

2010). 238 Sparta. 33: Amyklai was settled in the Early Helladic period. to “mark the extent of the territory controlled directly by Spartans. the Menelaion.Zeus Atabyrios at Rhodes. second. or to mark ritually the symbolic passage of citizens 238 237 62 . 241 Cartledge. 15-16: Cartledge discusses the function of the “limitary sanctuary” which was used to “articulate the necessary organic relationship between the countryside (the economic basis) and urban center (the political superstructure). used another extra-urban sanctuary. 237 Soon.. 240 Since Sparta refused to build city walls for protection. at Amyklai in order to balance their newer Dorian elements with their Bronze Age population. boundary disputes. usually in correlation with an increase in population. first. further dividing city and citizen territory from outer territories. 239 Spartans placed the sanctuary of Apollo Hyakinthos. Apollo Hyakinthos will be discussed in the section “Sparta: The Outlier”. 2002). Cults of Apollo at Sparta: the Hyakinthia. 96: The cult at Amyklai is a continuation of Mycenaean practices. between themselves and the non-Dorian component within the city proper.106). 2nd Edition (New York: Routledge. according to Kennell. was placed amid Ialyos. began as settlements wanted to control boundary sanctuaries which had once served as a symbolic limitation of society. between themselves and less enfranchised people living within their borders. exemplified an “understanding” of peace between two different peoples. Paul Cartledge. these sanctuaries have been compared to “a less efficacious wall-substitute”. 50. third. Spartan Reflections. a Dorian cult. Later (p. 240 Michael Pettersson. 239 Nigel Kennell. 50-51. and. the relationship between themselves and Messene. Pettersson mentions that burning animals for sacrifices was used as a social bond between participants in the feast and as sacral legitimacy through sacrificing to the gods. 241 McInerney. using them to balance. for example. Lindos and Kamiros “in the center of the island”. Spartans: A New History (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. The sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis. as opposed to land under the jurisdiction of the perioeci”. The relationship between Sparta and perioikic villages will be discussed in the section “Sparta: The Outlier”. the Gymnopaidiai and the Karneia (Stockholm: 1992). which stood between the highly opposed Messenians and Lacedaemonians. Ibid. 39. Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300 to 362 BC. The Spartans took the use of extra-urban sanctuaries to the extreme. such as burning animals for sacrifice.

consolidate or promulgate a state’s claim to border-territory against a neighbor…” 242 Plutarch.” and the other. 244 Polignac. The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives (London. Theseus was described as the first to erect a giant pillar on the Isthmus of Corinth. 244 At the end of the Geometric Period. 49. 25. defining them as only differences in communication and time rather than “distinctive attitudes and lifestyles”. or to establish. new cult centers from ‘wild’ adolescence to ‘tame’ civic maturity (as in several Artemis sanctuaries). but also political ones. normally found in law. In effect. not Ionia. One side read. 63 . in which a group took a “collective action” to defend their territory and attack others. but Ionia. 30: He describes the differences between town and country. an Athenian festival made to celebrate Athena’s birthday. do relate to different lifestyles-urban and rural-especially in Athens and especially during the Classical period. Lives. reinforced “political homogeneity and integrity of the entire polis territory…” 243 These processions would lead the citizenry from the extra-urban sanctuary to the city. processions acted as a procedural unity. military offerings in processions became more prominent. People from all classes gathered together in one place to participate in processions. 41. 245 Eventually.” 242 This “pillar” might not be a sanctuary. facing the West. 246 Hoplite tactics were adopted. trans. 246 Finley. 245 Polignac. Penguin Books. 46. Sanctuaries not only focused on territorial boundaries. Bintliff. “Here is not the Peloponnese. In Plutarch’s Lives. 1960). Spartan Reflections. 247 Polignac. 247 When cities were defeated. These two areas. read. farming became more important for supporting the citizenry and people needed a constant defense against raids. The Panathenaia. illustrating new war-like. but it did maintain a boundary function. “Here is the Peloponnese. however. Ian Scott-Kilvert. 18-19.Territorial boundaries themselves were important in distancing one type of people from another. 40. 243 Cartledge. best described in the Periclean plan for the Peloponnesian War. clearly defining the urban territory (within the walls) and the territory controlled by the polis. Theseus. societal desires.

a new temple of Pythian Apollo was built there and in the urban center of Argos.” though this is not an overarching principle. 251 Polignac. including religious ceremonies at local shrines…” 252 Polignac. 251 Therefore. 87. 30: “Far more influential were the links to neighbors by tight. referring to extra-urban sanctuaries. These colonies or apoikiai normally mimicked the institutions of their mother-city. 60.65-66). creating a new identity of the community. is a clear demonstration of an organized movement by a polis. 250 Polignac. 249 Citizens at these centralized sanctuaries performed certain rites of passage which were no longer hierarchical. the religious elements and citizenship in a polis became a “formal expression” of cohesion. those poleis became a “social centrality” in their region. she mentions that no god or goddess can be defined as predominately urban or rural.were built in them with a corresponding site located in the city proper. This incorporation of either foreign or extra-urban religious entities should not be overlooked. 248 Political unions could also bring extra-urban sanctuaries into an urban environment. became the “political constitution” and physical religious representation of the city. the god(s) associated with sanctuaries were designated as either “orderly”. Individual and Community.. 252 Colonization The colonizing movement. Later (p. Starr. 78. referring to urban sanctuaries. such as the Athenian cult of Artemis at Brauron. 62: Polinskaya also relates that. she claims. 250 Cults were created and citizenship increased so that all citizens in and beyond a controlled territory might participate in state-sanctioned religious practices. poleis sent out colonies which Ibid. 248 64 . This is no less true for the classification of deities into city and country gods…” (pp. McInerney states that sanctuaries near or in the hinterland (which can be defined as “disorderly”) usually are associated with the “feminine. “It is the local evidence”. beginning in the middle of the eighth century. 64). panhellenic rules and regularities in Greek religious practice. representing the patron god or goddess. Urban sanctuaries. or “disorderly”. almost unconscious bonds. 54: When Asine and its temple were destroyed in 720/10 BCE. 249 Polinskaya. “that constantly throws off any attempt to outline overall. depending on a sanctuary’s placement. however. Because poleis incorporated foreign religions into their urban environment.

such as war. Sparta and Lakonia. nor are they reflections of their mother poleis. 256 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. The Greek City States. i. 31. 257 In the East. Forrest theorizes that it correlated to the number of Spartan obai. the allegedly illegitimate Spartan sons became increasingly distressed by their lack of political involvement and were eventually sent away as colonizers. 417 on the reasons for colonization. Individual and Community. Atys. 43: Forrest remarks that Thera (a possible Spartan colony) adopted the Spartan office of ephor. 253 While this might prove the existence of the polis. colonization only verifies a result of early development. then. Individual and Community. and posits that the number of them (3) related to the original number of ephors at Sparta which correlated to the number of Dorian tribes. 63: “The search for new land.. a polis. therefore. Starr remarks that “…the demographic that a rural landscape tends to remain in balance unless the mode of production changes drastically and that no area can ever truly be overpopulated-if it is. 256 After the First Messenian War. Rhodes. people starve or are weakened enough to fall victim to disease-but that maldistribution of land and power can be influential in encouraging emigration” (italics mine). famine or political instability. 38-39: In keeping with Austin and Vidal-Naquet’s statement. 36: “…it is difficult to see how the succeeding colonies…could have been undertaken or have sunk in lasting roots unless the participants were united in a firm political system. 254 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. Lydia’s king. freeing the Spartans from political unrest. 8. Forrest. 253 65 . 110: Spartan colonists brought the Apollo Karneia cult to Thera.”. while expecting aid (military or otherwise) from them. most colonies accepted the rites of their mother city but that is not the only thing they accepted. Starr. Pettersson. they were rarely sent out because of external strife. not primary development.became poleis. 104: “…population growth and strain on available resources…” Wells also relates that it was in this period when trade in European towns skyrocketed. Cartledge. creating a valid timeline of events. 50. 255 Starr. was the principal cause of archaic colonization. for example. 255 Colonies. 254 Colonies also do not necessarily correlate to a balance between both internal and external influences. sent out a colony to relieve the Starr.158. 257 Murray. was settled by a mix of different citizens. whether it was because of overpopulation. While many did begin in order to relieve the internal stress of a society. Individual and Community. He is correct. Early Greece. Snodgrass. But how far does this independence go? Starr’s definition might be correct but not overwhelmingly. While the Spartan office employed 5 ephors in the Classical period. are applicable to the early development of the polis because modern scholars can date the results (and perhaps the early stages) of organized polis movements. Thurii. as well as an influx of new building techniques and cultural institutions from the Mediterranean. Sparta’s colonization effort will be further discussed in the section “Sparta: The Outlier”. Wells.” Starr’s statement seems logical but undermines other ethnic associations. 41-42: Starr states that colonies were “independent political entites” only claiming the religious rites of their mother city.e. poverty. Colonies might have also been independent but (with few exceptions like Corcyra) usually adhered to the foreign policies and political institutions of their mother city.

the colonists could come back. Rhodes. he would receive the death penalty and his property would be confiscated. even after the advent of the alphabet. the Greek world around this time was generally “unlettered”. a colonist picked to go with the colony refused to leave Thera. Ancient Greece. is that colonization began in societies that embraced maritime trade as a search for new raw materials. 262 Looking at colonization as a factor in the rise of the polis is tempting. 6. 91. confirmed by early homes on Ortygia. as well as embracing seaborne trade. 263 Polignac. adopted the Dorian Hyacinthius and 258 Herodotus..and [the king] determined by lots which should emigrate and which should remain at home.. Sélincourt. but if they were not able and they were not able to support themselves. Thera would grant them citizenship rights. 262 Finley. 260 Cartledge.the whole of Lydia suffered from a severe famine. such as copper and tin. for example. 32.. which were used for war. 259 Corinthian colonists established Syracuse in 733 BCE. which seems to me the most logical. 9-10. 263 Taras. it is. 4. Colonization did facilitate the development of the polis through an influx of political ideologies and trade to mother-poleis on the mainland. a controlled experiment in which colonizers had only the structure of the mother-polis to build on. made the Greeks very attractive to Phoenician merchants of the tenth-eighth centuries. Sélincourt. 261 These aspects. The Greek City States.29) that. If. because of poverty in the Corinthia. 260 One theory. They also supported religious identities of their mother-poleis because they normally adopted the same or similar institutions. From this “bond”. 65. he does remark though (p. trans. if the colonists are able to establish a colony. however. These games are supposed to have been invented at the time when they sent a colony to settle in Tyrrhenia.151. 115-116. 34: Rhodes cites a fourthcentury document stating that. 261 Polignac.94: “They [Lydians] also claim to have invented the games which are now commonly played both by themselves and the Greeks. in essence.strain on resources. 258 Thera was forced to send out a colony to Libya because of famine. trans. 1. such as a desire for metals and territory. an influx of ideas would occur such as the advent of the alphabet in the eighth century. 66 . Austin & Vidal-Naquet.” 259 Herodotus. This document illustrates the dire situation at Thera at the time the colony was sent..

“What is Greek”. some instances do not fit the general model. Starr. Snodgrass. Snodgrass. by the eighth century. 415: Snodgrass theorizes that the act to fortify Smyrna “cannot have been taken by a chance confederation of aristocrats and their followers…”. Early Greece.16. is a colony and should. While I disagree with the way in which Starr chooses to structure his statement. whose mother-city. Just because a colony (which Smyrna is) usually adopts its mother-city’s institutions. again. Colophon. 267 Camp. densely built up with four or five hundred houses of mud brick and stone foundations. Sélincourt. Herodotus. was a revelation in that it finds no counterpart on the Greek Mainland…”. but I am not convinced that Smyrna was a polis yet. 268 Murray. when did a “colony” become a polis. Old Smyrna. 237. implying that there was a polis-structure in place before the walls were built.. Snodgrass posits that he could have come from Smyrna because of the similarities with Aeolia in the Odyssey. “Walls”. native elements would be perfectly capable of creating the polis. adhere to colonial generalities or be labeled an extremity. Snodgrass. but. 37. Smyrna does seem to be atypical of the time period. 265 But Murray’s assessment lacks textual evidence. 268 At first glance. The polis might have had Eastern influences. from whom writing and trade originated. 264 Unfortunately. and how did this affect the territory in which the colony was established? Oswyn Murray wrote that the concept of the polis was not originally Greek and therefore. the second about a hundred years later. As it happens. 267 Smyrna was established around 1000 BCE. I agree that some governing structure would have to be in place before the building of walls. with perhaps half that many off the peninsula along the coast…these communities were considerably less stratified. 435: Because the Homeric epics used contemporary examples. 48. the first of which dates to the mid-ninth century. held approximately two thousand people. such as Smyrna. the damaging questions to this theory are. Individual and Community. as is evident in the evolution of the polis. 83: “By 750 B. Stageira and Thasos. in theory. 64f. he is correct that. Smyrna. and monarchical. partly because Old Smyrna had been a walled nucleus by the ninth century…”. is not 264 265 Kennell. Smyrna embodies a “pure” representation of a Greek polis.”. should be equated with the arrival of the Phoenicians. Murray.Spartan Dioscuri. which is a large and expensive undertaking. Scully. trans. 1.C. did not have walls. 266 When dealing with generalities. 35: “There are still efforts to locate the origins of the polis in Ionia. far before other known colonies in the eighth century. than the Mycenaean kingdoms. could be possible. Individual and Community. and was reorganized later around 800 in order to deal with population increases and natural disasters. like Abdera. but the Greeks certainly molded it to their own specifications. 266 Starr. 298: “…the discovery of the early fortifications at Old Smyrna. 42: Starr states that it would be “too easy” to label the polis as an Eastern phenomenon and that the “forces at work in the eighth century Aegean were principally native in origin”. 67 .

although this was more difficult to accomplish in non-Greek territories.commonplace and should be examined with caution when relating to the early development of the polis. a great cynic of archaeological evidence. as well as mainland Greek states. Unlike the older stage of settlements in Greece. These natives were either pushed out of a colony’s desired boundaries. although this occurred after the eighth century) even though native tribes occupied either the area or region in which the colony wished to settle. however. The simplest option was subjugation through conquest. Ancient Greece. 269 Colonies had the same problems as some of the first cities in Greece: placement. 99. So a question then arose of how to be in agreement with the societies. similar or dissimilar in nature. 271 would seem to be perfect examples of this third option. nonGreek settlements. closely resembling the Athenian hegemony. 65: Austin and Vidal-Naquet qualify this phenomenon stating that it was “doubtful that the same was true everywhere”. 271 Cartledge. Austin & Vidal-Naquet. state that while it is possible to interpret the lack of evidence with enslavement of a native population. 270 Colonies in Sicily. migrating groups. On the mainland. or the colonists “reduced the natives to the status of dependents”. Many times colonies were sent out to a specific area by their mother-city (after collaborating with the Delphic Oracle. 119. in essence. Polignac. trying to settle in a place relatively free from raids and harassment. had two options for synoikismos. 68 . defeated the colonists and expelled them. They were. a lack of evidence does not necessarily corroborate to this interpretation. Colonies. if at all. “Walls”. 48. Sparta most radically demonstrates 269 270 Camp. but Austin and Vidal-Naquet. around them. especially Syracuse. while the other was unification through similar objectives. these areas were normally already occupied or near the boundaries of existing native.

” This quotation does not imply the Bronze Age tactic of individual duels but a unification of all troops fighting for one cause. establishing a separate aristocracy and religion. Ancient Greece. 272 Hoplite Tactics Another modern theory of the rise of the polis is based on hoplite tactics acting as a social agent to transform procedural law.this option. 273 Hoplite tactics. Iliad. were unified by fear of raids and forced to interact for the protection of their city. Iliad.446-449: “When they met and came together into one place/they slammed together shields and spears and fury of breast plated men/ but the studded shields/closed with each other and a noise arose (οἳ δ᾽ ὅτε δή ῥ᾽ ἐς χῶρον ἕνα ξυνιόντες ἵκοντο. 45: “Between about 750-650 BCE a new mode of fighting properly styled ‘hoplite’ was developed that no longer depended on the prowess of a mighty individual warrior…” 273 272 69 . Perseus. was a common tactic of hoplite warfare. 124. As will be discussed in Chapter 3. Like the importance of harbors.8-9: “While the Achaeans moved forwards breathing in silence/ being eager at heart to ward off for one another (οἳ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἴσαν σιγῇ μένεα πνείοντες Ἀχαιοὶ/ἐν θυμῷ μεμαῶτες ἀλεξέμεν ἀλλήλοισιν).” Two sides of men. the cohesion of the citizenry increased. however.). hoplite tactics can also be traced to the Iliad. Colonizers could also threaten the identity of an existing polis.e. is (as the section title illustrates) an “outlier” and should not be taken as a generality for all Greece concerning hoplite tactics. As the solidarity of religious bonds increased. such as Sparta. who were able to provide their own armor and other means for sustaining themselves during war (i. hoplite tactics in Sparta can be used to chronologically date a functional polis. hoplites). which conquered all outer territories around Laconia in the Peloponnese and enslaved them. These citizens. Cartledge. 3. smashing against each other in a line formation.. πολὺς δ᾽ ὀρυμαγδὸς ὀρώρει.a sentiment of a hoplite formation. however. in which men Polignac. Sparta. much like colonization. 4. Perseus. Because of their function and importance in the polis as its defenders./σύν ῥ᾽ ἔβαλον ῥινούς. Tactics. as well as define later Spartan ideology. σὺν δ᾽ ἔγχεα καὶ μένε᾽ ἀνδρῶν/χαλκεοθωρήκων: ἀτὰρ ἀσπίδες ὀμφαλόεσσαι/ἔπληντ᾽ ἀλλήλῃσι. hoplites created a new political hierarchy. are more applicable for certain areas. but hoplites are a secondary reaction to the early development of a polis.

ὅπλα) characterized hoplites (ὁπλίτης. however. Starr. 65. Rivalries between different aristocratic families abated (though still remained) and shifted to rivalries between different poleis. probably because the Spartans had yet to acquire hoplite tactics. its ruling body would have to make a definitive decision to adopt these tactics. These tactics were adopted by 669 BCE. used politics and athletics in the polis system to advance themselves by providing feasts and recreational events for the civic community.stood in a phalanx formation creating a “wall” of shields. 274 275 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. The military role of the declining basileus (or archon depending on the polis) altered with the advent of the phalanx and was made into an annual office (the archonship). for hoplite tactics to reinforce the development of a polis. Individual and Community. pl. According to Pausanias. 275 Similarly to colonization. while the Argives had. the Argives defeated the Spartans at the Battle of Hysiai. 70 . 59. pl. 274 Aristocrats. more specifically. and. whose earlier prominence as cavalry was diminished by the new hoplite tactics . their shields (ὅπλον. ὁπλίται). completely changing the roles of the political administration.

Athens uses physical structures. To construct an internal balance.Chapter 3 Case Studies The polis was neither likened to a specific type of government. but. create a balance between both tribal and socioeconomic entities. preferring instead to use their hoplites as a moveable wall to protect its citizenry and expand its empire. I have chosen four major poleis to discuss. but tyrants created an extra-legalism. but was eventually taken over by a tyrant (τύραννος). Sparta used extra-urban sanctuaries but did not build walls. Athens adopted formal procedural laws which created certain equality between high and low classes. urban. similarly used physical structures and procedural laws. and extra-urban sanctuaries. ethne. to protect its citizenry. all of which encapsulate different governments yet similar in their early polis development. such as walls. nor was it fixed in its associations. and Sparta (dual monarchy) are all poleis but demonstrate different generalities. and operated in tandem with. Thebes (oligarchy and federation). unlike Athens. and establish boundaries between the region which it controls and its neighbors’ dominion. Corinth began in much the same way as Sparta and Athens. There were many poleis that were ruled by tyrants. an oligarchy. Athens (democracy). Thebes. Corinth (tyranny). was originally. To illustrate this. shifting the balance of internal 71 . Each of these poleis adopts a balance between external and internal influences to assist in its specific government.

P. 79. 278 Thucydides relates that the Athenians celebrated a festival every year called the Synoikia to celebrate their newfound association with other areas.influences from procedural laws and governmental entities that created a certain equality between classes to themselves. such as Theseus. Theseus 24. Athenian unification can be attributed to sympoliteia rather than synoikismos. he. 2004).40: The office of archon was reduced to a one-year term. 62-63: “The territory of Attica is more conducive to unification than are many other parts of the mainland. Rhodes. trans. p. is useless. 276 Some ancient sources ascribe the Athenian dominion of Attica to mythological figures. for example. 279 Starr. enveloped smaller areas (either tribal areas or polis) into a centralized Athenian unit.”. “the first annual archon being Creon (683/2). wrote that Theseus made Athens the political center of Attica by resettling all 12 Attic cities.” 277 276 72 . Athens Athens itself was one of the most populated poleis in the Greek world. P. through synoikismos. did not touch the “autochthonous” Athens or possibly because of Athenian acceptance of local cultures into an overarching system of governing.J. Athenian Constitution. 277 Whether Theseus had anything to do with the synoikismos of Athens. edit. “internal quarrels” Thomas & Conant. Rhodes (London: Penguin Books. The Birth of Athenian Democracy. This statement. and procedural laws can be formally dated to 683/2 BCE. historically. possibly because invasions. 17: Athens was less like a polis and more like a megalopolis. 278 P. as a source.39. 279 Athens remained inhabited and hegemonic through the post-Mycenaean era. “General Introduction. 7: Starr relates that “the institutions mentioned by Thucydides existed in early Attica may be doubted…he is an unsafe guide when he looked back into the past”. a notion which is supported by archeological evidence. 1. Aristotle. Bintliff. 280 Athenian Constitution. Plutarch (1960). 280 Additionally. If we cannot trust Thucydides’ interpretation of practices that he most likely witnessed. Nevertheless. Because of Athens’ expansive size. 2002).J. xviii.J.” in Athenian Democracy. Athens. seems far too harsh. or if he was a real person at all. is suspect. however. Thomas & Conant. Rhodes (New York: Oxford University Press. p. Aristotle.

however. 283 Cartledge. Solon for the initial development of laws and organization of the citizenry. 284 Rhodes.2. Athens was arranged in numerous villages. killed evil men and murderous animals that plagued Attica and its boundary areas. it was a “firmly settled community” and not because of agriculture. the geomoroi (“land owners”). 3. marking the end of the post- 281 282 Thucydides. unlike the eupatridai. 285 Starr.16-Epitome 2 for Theseus’ labors and subsequent battles. 73 . is not rooted in any discernible fact other than Athenian religious and civic sentiment. 284 Before Solon.did not plague Athens because of Attica’s isolation and poor arable land. Rhodes also mentions that the geomoroi and the demiourgoi. Individual and Community. The “autochthony” myth was to “reinforce an invented. and Kleisthenes for the reorganization of Athens after the Peisistratid tyranny. 94. 285 Between 800 and 700 BCE. according to Thucydides. 283 According to Plutarch. In fact. After applying mortal “law” to areas that were untamed. the population of Attica increased exponentially. The Greek City States. this early period contained three different classes of people: the eupatridai (“well-born”). Peisistratus for the further amalgamation of the oikos with the polis. 281 Concerning internal polis development. Athens had four stages equating to four famous Athenians: Theseus for Athenian synoikismos. Theseus. artificial sense of close genetic community among a people of in fact very diverse origins and backgrounds”. 30 in reference to Plutarch.2. and the demiourgoi (essentially the rest of the population). other people migrated to Athens because. 70: cemeteries separated these villages from one another. a regional hero whose mythology strongly resembled Heracles’. Ancient Greece. Apollodorus. 1. he began to unify the villages of Attica under the Athenian banner. 282 Dating the unification of the region to this mythical (and therefore extremely early) period. were most likely “the product of classical Greek speculation”. Theseus 25.

but also the court system and the highest judicial powers.1ff. Starr. 290 Nilsson. Solon’s most important regulation was the right of “the masses” 286 Scully. certain families became increasingly powerful while clients became extremely poor and dependent. 84. as Starr states. 291 Laws were also made to prevent internal strife in order to protect new institutions. 5. 287 Since wealthy citizens were not only in charge of debts. as he admits. 43. Starr. as seen in the Athenian archonship. 288 Starr. 30. 1948). 7.Mycenaean period there. 404: Snodgrass relegates the political unification of Attica to around the late tenth century.C. leaving “blood-revenge” as the only option of punishment. 291 Athenian Constitution. 1977). The Birth of Athenian Democracy. Debt increased enormously. Snodgrass. 45. rather than just the highest classes and most wealthy. 65-66. 289 A revolt seemed inevitable without some kind of balance between classes which a strong centralized government could provide. (New York: Oxford University Press. Murray. In other words.” affirming Starr’s statement that “the State is consciously evolved to defend privileges of a dominant class and the sanctity of private property”. the second “lawgiver” of Athens (Drako being the first). There was a shift from a “village” lifestyle to “private property. there was a “need for increased integrative mechanisms in larger and more complex structures”. 288 Laws and punishments themselves were also privatized. even though a demand for public justice grew among the populace. 74 . and different socioeconomic classes. 286 During the Archaic period. pottery styles are not consistent throughout Attica. the lower classes received very little “justice”. were able to access the court system. 290 Under Solon. to the point where wealthy families sold clients into slavery in repayment of their debt. Greek Piety (London: Oxford University Press. Individual and Community. laws were modified from a private realm to a public system. debts were erased. but. 289 Martin Persson Nilsson. 36. The Economic and Social Growth of Early Greece: 800-500 B. Early Greece. 287 Chester G.

“Athens went from strength to strength. but in all. how noble a thing equality before the law is. mitigated debt.5. 75 . not in one respect. 45. at the very least. Peisistratus did not change the Solonic laws but enforced them. Sélincourt. 9.. ensured the fighting spirit of the hoplite citizenry and the survival of their polis. not to give either side dominion over the other. 294 Athenian Constitution. The Birth of Athenian Democracy. Solon’s laws were made to prevent civil unrest. while the aristocracy expected to retain their original positions of power. Athens in this time period was desperate for reform. Herodotus. 16. Though a τύραννος (tyrant). Unfortunately. The Birth of Athenian Democracy. further connecting rural Attica with central Athens. having been made both public and accessible to all classes. He not only delegated power to magistrates to settle disputes. if proof was needed. 11.78. and allowed lower classes to participate in the government.1. trans. The reason this democracy retained its shape from its initial stages was not necessarily because of Peisistratus’ willingness to accept Solonic law. The new structure erased or. for while they were oppressed under tyrants. But neither side was satisfied. but also judged conflicts himself while touring Attica and established a system of traveling judges. Soon. Starr. and provided. the lower classes expected that Solon would redistribute property. these laws would eventually lead to the democracy that Athens would be famous for. they had no better success in war than any of their neighbors…” 293 These laws. It also allowed the aristocracy to maintain a large part of their original power. Starr. 292 Herodotus appeal to the “jury court” in order to seek retribution for a perceived wrong. 294 Though the initial Solonic laws were not applied as first conceived (as a tyrant “ran” the state). The only political option for stability was a balancing 292 293 Ibid. wealthy kyrieia rose to power again and Peisistratus eventually seized control of Athens. 5.

the Peisistratids would not have been able to rule as long as they did... however.between socio-economic classes. as Josiah Ober correctly states. 182.” and it was this fact that stabilized Athens internally. therefore. both external and internal. then Athens was surely one. Ober’s statement is only valid after the Athenian democracy was truly enforced. conquered Athens. pre or even post-Solonic Athens before 508 BCE. 295 While the Peisistratid tyranny lasted for two generations and made Athens very powerful and distinct. specifically for Peisistratus. 164. 297 Ibid. typifies a polis. a powerful kyrieia. Athenian stability not only came from a balance between Solonic classes. influence.g. the interaction between subsocieties helps to determine the structure of the whole society.” 297 (italics mine) Ober. This larger society will encompass subsocieties with specialized rules and norms. norms. 119. The Peisistratid tyranny only worked because of family reputation. Democracy. Peisistratus himself could be likened to nothing more than a head of an oikos. 295 76 . as Ober states: “[A] society is the sum of all participants in the overall set of rules. respect. Wealthy families such as the Alcmaeonids struggled for power against other families. powers. Without some kind of legislation in place that alleviated political upheaval between classes. property) are produced and distributed.” This might be true for post-Kleisthenic Athens but not. If balance. luck. and. rights. works “by balancing political equality against social inequality. by any means. but also from a balance between older entities and newer entities of the state. and practices whereby social rights (e. but this institution does not imply that everything before it was “null and void”. which. A certain amount of legality. while a polis in name. allowing the lower classes to participate in government while also granting prestige to higher classes. is present in a polis and.. in effect. 296 The Athenian polis. Ober states that Athens did not employ a reciprocal relationship because wealthy families were “unable to control Athenian society through the matrix of reciprocal and interfamilial…obligations that typifies the society based on patronage. By definition. began after the Peisistratid tyranny. This is not to say that Athens was not a polis before. which is famous today for its direct democracy. privileges. 173: “…the polis is not to be preserved through equalization of material goods but rather through just and consensual inequality…” 296 Ibid. Athens was not a polis in spirit.

the Kleisthenic reorganization linked citizens to geographical units. was not the work of the assembly as one might think. Though thetes rowed the triremes. the tribes were used to generate prytanies which formed the new Council of 500. Though the Kleisthenic reforms changed the tribal structure. it incorporated. an effort had to be made to incorporate earlier “subsocieties. 77 . 300 Ober. For further information on prytany-formation. but of the council. 300 In fact. comprised of the wealthier socio-economic classes. which became the groundwork for poorer citizens to associate themselves with the government. Athens had Ionic roots and already had four established Ionic tribes. further connecting rural Attic entities with centralized Athens while keeping the tradition of tribes alive. 184. “General Introduction”. see Starr. the new formation of the navy under Themistocles. 298 Instead of tribal structures linking citizens to the government. Instead of a much earlier and direct function.In order to maintain stability after the tyranny (and indeed during it as well). The Birth of Athenian Democracy. illustrating the advantage wealthier citizens still had even in the cornerstone of the Athenian lower 298 299 Rhodes. raising the number and naming each tribe after eponymous heroes. a newer version of an older entity that would be invaluable in the reorganization of the state at local levels. into Athenian government. 299 Further measures were also established to dismantle the older oikos-system in an effort to bind wealthier families to the state. Kleisthenes reformed the tribal structure. in essence. 2.” in other words tribal factions. because of its association with lower classes. 14-15. After the coup of 508 BCE where the Spartans first helped to end the tyranny and then tried to establish a friendly government under Isagoras. such as paying for plays and making triremes. the ships’ captains were wealthier citizens. encouraging a subsidization of poorer citizens which wealthier classes used in order to gain prestige.

but also the advantage the navy and. Rhodes (New York: Oxford University Press.J. 18-39. it is not a central issue in this section. were born from a woman who was the daughter of a citizen father. 24: certain oikos ceremonies. 44. therefore. Davies. 303 The direct assembly may have been Athens’ crowning achievement. The Birth of Athenian Democracy. “Athenian Citizenship: The Descent Group and the Alternatives.” While the criteria for citizenship changed through the fifth century. For more information see Davies. 78 . The Assembly’s beginning history. but Starr relates that it had roots as far back as the Iliad. were sons of a citizen father. 301 To dismantle oikos institutions completely. especially that of the amphidromia that legitimized a son after birth which admitted the child to the “hiera [‘sacred rites’] of the oikos”. the lowest Solonic economic class. 42. While the Homeric and classical assemblies might have similar characteristics. would have been a disaster. similar to the distinctions in the Homeric polis and Archaic polis. P.classes. 5. edit. were born from a woman who was ‘pledged’ (engyete). they are not the same governing structure because of the latter’s far greater jurisdiction. 304 While Starr mentions Athenian entities that might have had the characteristics of an assembly. citizenship in Athens primarily concerned descent. The Birth of Athenian Democracy. Athens would be stable. and had been accepted as members of their father’s (phratry and) deme. poorer citizens had in shaping Athenian policy (especially foreign policy). Athens changed from a large geographical area in which various classes were disconnected into various sub communities. were granted admission to it and to the law 301 302 Starr. however. “Athenian Citizenship”. 303 Davies explains the criteria for citizenship in Athens in terms of descent: “…[citizens] were male. These classes.” in Athenian Democracy. In essence. 304 Starr. Though citizenship is an important aspect of the polis concerning class representation. 2004). This governmental entity that many poleis had was possibly the most used and fullyfunctioning assembly in all Greece. and other “descent” rituals that legitimized the “proper status” of government officials. adhered to the state through citizenship. when making a new governmental structure it is best to keep older traditions alive rather than outlawing their existence in order to facilitate a gradual association with the new structure. however. is uncertain. the assembly only gained the distinct characteristics that divided it from the council when the thetes. John K. while different economically. 302 With a dismantling of these two older systems while incorporating certain facets of them into Athenian culture.

courts. 305 While the assembly could vote “yes” or “no” on a certain initiative, the council retained probouleutic powers. It used to “screen” legislation before it went to the assembly for a vote. The Areopagus, an ancient court that was always granted mythic origin, remained a guardian of the laws though its power decreased as the assembly’s power increased. Eventually the assembly became the “ultimate authority” in Athens concerning public matters, allowing the entire citizenry and not just the highest socioeconomic classes that comprised the council, Areopagus and archonship, to control the Athenian polis. 306 Athens, while occasionally viewed as the epitome of the polis, is somewhat problematic in its fulfillment of polis development. Like Sparta, no other polis was like Athens concerning either its application of laws or its balance among different segments in its citizenry. Athens also maintains the largest written record of its historical upbringing, making it extremely difficult to evaluate because of a lack of material to compare it to. Athenian early history is vague, especially concerning polis foundations. While archaeology supports the existence of Cyclopean walls around the Acropolis and other Bronze Age walls around the city, ancient sources are mysteriously silent. In the Catalogue of Ships, Athens is described as a “well-founded citadel,” implying the semblance of walls around the Acropolis, but not the city proper. In proportion to literary evidence of other ancient sites such as Thebes or Troy, the evidence of walls surrounding Athens is very slight. The Athenian hegemony over Attica can be seen as a symbiotic

Ibid., 9: “From a sixth-century inscription, it appears that Chios also had a ‘democratic’ council of 50 members from each of its tribes alongside an older aristocratic council, and it was thought that Solon drew his idea from Ionia…” 306 Ibid., 40. It should be noted that the archonship and local neighborhood groups, what Starr calls the “fundamental matrix of Athenian society”, did retain certain powers over sacrifices and cult.


relationship between Athens and certain cults, which helped unite and control the region, and not by the development of walls. This relationship, however, also facilitated polis development by providing a link between urban and extra-urban areas. Archaeological evidence of Mycenaean walls around the acropolis (and the sheer height of the acropolis itself), while not mentioned in Homer or Hesiod, is also vital for the early Athenian polis and, therefore, should not be excluded.

Corinth As with most discussions of early poleis, few primary sources exist that describe Corinth; archaeological remains and anthropological theories, therefore, must be used to piece together an early history. Though Corinth was an extremely important polis in the period of colonization and is a perfect example of a polis that was continuously ruled by tyrants, I shall limit my discussion of Corinth because it represents more of a norm among Greek polis development than other case-studies (which Mogens Herman Hasen has already discussed). Corinth, which also had Mycenaean roots, was absolutely essential to Greek development, especially in the period of colonization. 307 Largely uninhabited during the post-Mycenaean period, Corinth seems to have undergone synoikismos in the eighth century, resulting from “regionalism,” a “natural growth of population,” and “an increase in larger estates controlled by some more fortunate families”. 308 In the late post307

Thomas & Conant, 117: “…the region [the Corinthia] appears to have been linked to Mycenae: remains of a road system extend northward from Mycenae into the Corinthia, and the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad assigns the ships of the Corinthians to Agamemnon’s command.” Mycenaean societal remains, such as coexisting dialects, after the Mycenaean palace destruction also illustrates a dimension of continuity. 308 Ibid., 118, 120: “The evidence of wells and graves attests expansion from the mid-eighth century and there are signs that individual settlements, especially those around Corinth itself, were drawing closer together.”


Mycenaean period, three villages, like Sparta, merged into one because of land restrictions, creating historical Corinth. 309 This population increase and “limited space” led to a hereditary kingship, but this type of rule became inefficient because of an overwhelming increase in diverse populations, and political power was eventually usurped by a clan, the Bacchiads. Cypselus, a member of the Bacchiad aristocracy, seized power in Corinth in 657 BCE, creating an oligarchical tyranny. 310 Tyrants can rule poleis but, as a rule, take power through illegal means. The polis has a certain legality to it, maintaining a balance between both socio-economic classes and tribal entities through procedural laws. Tyrants, when they take power illegally, undermine this balance, creating the balance for the state in them. Though tyrannies have a negative undertone, they were useful, as their existence is usually an argument for political reform. According to Thomas and Conant, “This change from the leadership of one man to [the] control [of] many peers is of signal importance for on-going development in the Archaic and Classical periods, for it marked the extension of political power to more members of the community.” 311 While this statement does not apply to every polis, this development was a “natural, gradual occurrence” throughout Greece. 312 In order to facilitate growth, Corinth, in accordance with Polignac’s theory, created extra-urban sanctuaries to make definitive claims on border territories. 313 In fact, Corinth’s association with the worship of Aphrodite represented a social cohesion in the Corinthia and throughout the Greek world, since Corinth was one of the goddess’

309 310

Ibid., 130. Herodotus, trans. Sélincourt, 5.92; Thomas & Conant, 121. 311 Thomas & Conant, 122. 312 Ibid. 313 Ibid., 124: “When the northern promontory of the isthmus known as Perachora was absorbed by Corinth around the middle of the eighth century, an apsidal building was erected there in honor of Hera.”


“principle centers of worship”. such as in Athens. 314 315 Ibid. Even though the type of government changed in Corinth. its formation was not unlike many other poleis. 82 . an economic juggernaut. As populations grew after the post-Mycenaean period. and these families took power. villages began to unite and transform into larger urban centers. 125-126 for specific Corinthian colonies. the Bacchiads created a new balance between the polity and the state. and relieve political stress. Rule-by-one (i. secure supplies of goods.e. 314 Economically. 317 Rhodes. many strategic resources in the western Mediterranean. 315 This was. a king) became unsatisfactory because of an increase in population and in influential families. 316 Thomas & Conant. controlling essential trade routes. 134. at least in the period of colonization. 316 but this theory seems to put too much emphasis on population pressure rather than on a tactical plan to gain resources and strategic water passages for trade. according to Thomas and Conant. creating tyrannies that usually resulted from the need for political reform. 140. Thomas and Conant refer to Plato’s Laws. 191. 740e which describes the land situation as stenochoria (“narrowness of land”) and how to alleviate population pressures.. See Thomas & Conant. It was also in this period that Corinth nearly dominated the pottery market and created a highway (diolkos) across the isthmus from the Corinthian to the Saronic Gulf. Though ruled by a tyranny. The Greek City States. facilitating political stability through colonization and the creation of extra-urban sanctuaries. 317 Corinth was. and passage into the Peloponnese. “a community response”. during the tyranny.. Corinth sent out many colonies to grow food.

319 Boeotia has Mycenaean roots and untouched native villages. the ethnos “gave way” to the polis. Boiotia and the Boiotian League. Buck states. 321 When Thebes established its hegemony over the region. was secured by the sixth century. which. In fact. It was a polis that has continuously been controlled by people who were not its original founders. were fundamentally opposed to each other. however. led by Thebes.C.Seven-Gated Thebes Thebes is a difficult case because it is not like Athens or Sparta in its isolationism or like Corinth in its mutual trading ties to other cities. I mentioned that the ethnos. 322 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. did sustain some kind of hegemony over their region. In the introduction. 320 Thebes. a tribal-village construction that did not build walls.. at least mythologically. as Robert J. might have been a polis but surrounding areas were not. It was. Boeotia did not maintain tribes or phratries. 2. Boiotia and the Boiotian League. (Alberta: The University of Alberta Press. 83 . maintained walls and had procedural laws. as a region. had very few harbors. “on a crossroads for the spread of ideas”. this “unity…was imposed by the most powerful city”. 320 Dalby. Boeotia. 423-371 B. the largest urban area in Boeotia. and the polis. 322 Nevertheless. 2. only village-settlements (ethne). the “political” synoikismos of Boeotia. 319 Ibid. 41: Dalby relates that “Thebes was the center of a major Achaian realm” on the basis of Linear B tablets found there. which used walls to protect its citizenry and facilitate agriculture. Thebes was the personification of this conflict. Thebes. date to before Mycenaean rule. 79. 1994). 321 Buck. 1. archaeologically demonstrated by a fairly cohesive regional coinage and the domination 318 Robert J. 318 Thebes did not send out colonies in the period of colonization nor did it have any tyrants. and the ones it did have were not very impressive. Buck.

which other. unlike Athens or Sparta. 324 In its infancy. “celebrated annually at Onchestus”. Thebes. Rhys Roberts. Rhys Roberts and Barclay V. Thebes.of the Apollo Ismenios cult.. 324 Cartledge. offering “an original and alternative mode of political organization to the single polis”. created a balance regardless of an assembly. Barclay V. indicating its “independence…was not complete” (p. 1895). 325 Because it did not have an assembly. 84 . 323 Later. Inc. Head. if not Thebes itself. Cartledge. he does not mention any archaeological or textual evidence to argue in favor of it. Boiotia and the Boiotian League. 326 Many ancient poets and artists called Boeotia. Inc. possibly the Boeotian League’s most hated 323 Polignac. By the sixth century. 1994. 3: Barclay divides Boeotian history into different time periods of coinage. an assembly would not necessarily have been as essential to balance as it might have been in Sparta or Athens. and Athens. Procedural laws and walls. the Boeotians had “a common silver coinage bearing the obverse device of an infantryman’s [hoplite’s] shield” which “attests a form of political unity”. Ancient Greece. 1891). edit. Ancient Greece. home. a balance between socio-economic classes would have been difficult to achieve. While Thebes was mentioned numerous times in the Homeric epics. therefore. into the most well-known federal state in Greece. There was also a common religious cult. 132. 325 Buck. Boeotia would transform. Boiotia and the Boiotian League. put a stalk of grain on their coinage while Thebes put a shield of Heracles. For more information on the Boeotian League and Federal state. the Pamboeotia. Orchomenus. Also. Thebes had many different tribes and. which Thebes employed. 133: In the late seventh century.. 326 W. “The Coins of Ancient Boeotia: A Chronological Sequence. Buck. however.” in The Ancient Boeotians and the Coinage of Boeotia. we know very little about Thebes’ social or historical development. 5. W. Head (Chicago: Ares Publishers. Orchomenus stopped producing large silver coins.18). such as Hesiod and Pindar. smaller Boeotian cities celebrated. Thebes’ biggest Boeotian rival. 79f. Rhys Roberts and Barclay V. “The Ancient Boeotians: Their Character and Culture and Their Reputation. 22. but they did not overtly discuss Boeotian political organization. and many other towns in Boeotia. has cityfoundations rooted in mythology. Though Buck maintains that Thebes did not actually maintain an assembly.” in The Ancient Boeotians and the Coinage of Boeotia. however. W. significantly differing politically from other surrounding poleis in that Thebes did not maintain an assembly. 5. under the leadership of Thebes. Head (Chicago: Ares Publishers. see Buck. as with many ancient cities. were oligarchies. edit.

Europa. but only five men were left. was guarded by the serpent of Ares. had been abducted by Zeus. if only for its references to the advent of walls. but by a plague. his mythological discussions are some of the only ones available. led their people to Thebes and inhabited it. and started to fight each other. 3.enemy. 42. Athena called for a truce. 2006). 327 328 Roberts. become the “seed of future people.5. 328 According to Pausanias the first inhabitants of Thebes were the Ectenae who were ruled by Ogygus. and.15-19. discusses the mythical foundations of many city-states. not Thebans. 327 Pausanias. Thomas Taylor. fully armed. After killing the serpent.” After Cadmus planted these teeth. but Euripides (The Bacchae) Apollodorus. and it told him to follow a heifer until it lay down to rest. Athena came to Cadmus and told him to sow the teeth of the fallen serpent in the earth which would. build city walls and call the land “Boeotia”. a Phoenician. Pausanias. trans. 329 Two Boeotians. writing much later. they were conquered by Cadmus. The myth of Cadmus is complicated. Cadmus’ sister. men sprouted from the ground. and his work is invaluable to this discussion. 85 . 329 Pausanias. 1955). After their settlement. When he could not find her. and these men constructed the walls of Thebes. 9. Metamorphoses. Cadmus went to the Delphic Oracle for guidance. a native of Thebes itself. however. trans. Rolfe Humphries (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. where it rested. immortalized Theban legends in Athenian tragedy. While I am aware that many of Pausanias’ writings are subject to criticism because of the late date of his writings. threatening him with exile if he failed. however. II (Dorset: The Prometheus Trust. The site. literally. Description of Greece. These peoples were destroyed. not by an army. and Ovid are in agreement that he was a Phoenician. and Cadmus’ father ordered him to find her. Guide to Greece. 330 Ovid. who killed many in Cadmus’ party before Cadmus found it. 330 Cadmus followed the cow and claimed the area of Thebes for his city. Vol.

illustrated by the many gates the wall possessed. by divine intervention. for one reason or another.. Oedipus’ sons. there were many other rulers of Thebes. 331 86 . “by the command of the Oracle. 332 and attacked Thebes.6. the race before our own. 335 After the death of Oedipus. joined the lower and upper halves of Thebes. 333 I am more amenable to Pausanias’ story than others. 9. symbolizes the strength and superiority of the Theban city-state. the areas surrounding it? Ancient myths of Thebes differ on one very important aspect: was Cadmus a founder or a conqueror? Pausanias did not even hint at the idea that Cadmus was a “founder” of Thebes. Apollodorus. 334 Pausanias. Lombardo. How can a foreigner gain legitimacy as a founder? The answer is. through the Delphic Oracle. 11. Works and Days.Ancient literature constantly mentions Theban walls with the epithet of “SevenGated Thebes (ἑπταπύλῳ Θήβῃ)”. Perseus. 9. a foreigner. the best textual evidence is mythological or dramatic. 9. as all authors agree. 160-163: “Demi-gods./as they fought for Oedipus’ flocks…” 332 Pausanias. Most importantly. who founded seven-gated Thebes and built its walls…”.12. to settle where the Thebans were. according to myth and later comedies. but Cadmus was. in some fashion. After Cadmus. vanquished the inhabitants and built the Cadmea. trans. the Cadmean land.265-270: “Amphion and Zethos. some below seven-gated Thebes. He mentioned that Cadmus came to Thebes with his army. Odyssey. 3. Zethos and Amphion. in this case. also maintained procedural laws within this period.5.5. Cadmus was a conqueror who might have been told by the Delphic Oracle. creating a completely new city. Polyneices and Eteocles. After all. 335 Thebes is a difficult area to discuss because of a lack of historical evidence. 333 Ibid. If anything. 331 The length. Antiope’s sons.5./Bad war and grim battle/destroyed them.” following the “heifer” until it rested. and. 334 Thebes. through the boundless earth. could a city become so large without first subduing. While archaeology can help.

but the “pollution” because of Creon’s decision threatened the piety of the entire polis. as well as a continuing conflict between the entities of the oikos and polis. The law of Creon should not be called into question when discussing Antigone. Vol. 337 Apollodorus.6. the son of Polyneices. Antigone. He returned to Thebes later after his brother had asked him to but was then exiled because of a “disagreement” with Eteocles. by Sophocles.5. trans. 336 They were unsuccessful and both Polyneices and Eteocles were killed in the battle. Polyneices withdrew into exile. Should enemies of a territory be given the same treatment as the territory’s citizenry? It was impious not to give a body the right to burial but. secretly performed burial rites for Polyneices. 338 This law. Antigone.made an agreement to rule in alternating years. but joined with the Argives and attacked Thebes. demonstrates the importance of procedural law which Creon administered. Not burying him might have sent a forceful message to future invaders. logically. 1942). 339 Thersander had a son named Tisamenus. but Eteocles refused to give up his throne.6.5: Pausanias wrote that Polyneices was not exiled but ran from Thebes because he was scared that his father’s curse would come to fruition. sibling of both Eteocles and Polyneices. 337 Creon decreed that Polyneices. Burying Polyneices benefited only his immediate family and his clients. 339 Pausanias. the kingship eventually passed to Thersander. Greek Tragedies. Sophocles’ Antigone (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. was not so much substantive as it was procedural. 338 For more information concerning Antigone see David Grene and Richmond Lattimore. 340 Ibid. Pausanias.1. but was caught. Creon’s ruling made sense. 9.7-8: The “Cadmeans” were pushed back to their walls but Zeus struck one of the Argive heroes down with a thunderbolt which caused panic in the Argive ranks and they fled. could not be buried but Eteocles could. which stated that Polyneices could not be buried. 3. but the impiety of Creon’s resolve.1. because he had attacked Thebes. 3. but the reign of Thebes was given to Peneleus because of Tisamenus’ young age.178-232. 87 . pp. 340 This reign marked the invasion of 336 Apollodorus. After the destruction of Oedipus’ children and the capturing of Thebes by the allied army of Athens and Argos. 9.

trans.6. 344 Odyssey. Vol. 343 Pausanias. 2006). Even though Pausanias is not used as a main source. 45. Lombardo. separating the city-proper from “Cadmea”. written by Hecateus. trans. Lombardo. recording that Zethos and Amphion were actually the first inhabitants of Thebes. 88 . Thomas Taylor. In the Catalog of Ships. Description of Greece. Buck has done extensive work on Boeotian history and divides Boeotia into three traditions corresponding to three different authors. he is used to refute other arguments. After Oedipus. but not necessarily the formation or even the political unity of the city. In the Catalogue of Ships. only lower Thebes is listed as a contributor to the expedition. 2. the Odyssey only mentions that Antiope bore Zethos and Amphion and that they founded Thebes by building the wall.264-267. 2. 341 This corresponds to Pausanias’ description of Peneleus’ reign and also demonstrates that Thebes was at least partially under Argive control. Lombardo. Cadmus then entered Boeotia and founded Thebes by constructing walls around it. states that Boeotia. why was the city not just named Thebes? And if they did not unite. The first tradition. only complicates things. the 341 342 Iliad. 343 Yet. 1979). 344 The only thing that is constant is Peneleus’ reign.535f. and therefore Thebes. which migrated from Attica. Iliad. 342 Since Zethos and Amphion had already joined upper and lower Thebes. 345 Robert J. none of which are Pausanias. 345 The “barbarian tribes” were the people who came after the first plague that wiped out Ogygus’ people. 2. why was lower Thebes not named Cadmea? Pausanias. Buck. however.Troy. the Homeric corpus says nothing about connecting one unit of the city to another. Soon after this. 11. I (Dorset: The Prometheus Trust. Zethos and Amphion seized control and Laius eventually took over. A History of Boeotia (Alberta: The University of Alberta Press. trans. citing the Odyssey. the Boeotians were led by Peneleus and Leitus. Guide to Greece.538-561. was first occupied by barbarian tribes. trans.

at the same time. History. by means of city walls and procedural laws. a stranger or foreigner fortifying the city. Sparta: The Outlier Sparta was fundamentally different from any other classical city-state in Greece while. 346 All traditions maintain similar connections: a link with Attica. 89 . What little we know about Sparta’s enigmatic and difficult past is clouded by what many historians have fittingly named the ‘Spartan 346 Buck. setting Thebes apart from most Greek poleis as traitors and barbarians. remaining remarkably similar. While Boeotia was largely composed of ethne. eventually creating the first successful federal state and destroying Spartan hegemony in the fourth century. Athens used Theban legends in tragedy and even took over the rule of Boeotia from Thebes.Cadmeans were expelled to Thessaly but returned under the leadership of Thersander. the Argives defeating the Thebans. Thebes coalesced into a polis. Boeotia’s early organization was primarily made of oligarchic ethne that were in direct opposition to the Athenian polis. it is a paradoxical and supremely tantalizing entity for historians. and all maintain a record of the Trojan War. This rivalry reached its pinnacle in the Persian Wars when Thebes capitulated to Persian demands for “earth and water”. similarly to Athens. This explains the capturing of the city by the Argives and corresponds to the Trojan War. after the absorption of surrounding territories. Thebes remained a major force in Boeotia. Nevertheless. Thebes is “on a crossroads for the spread of ideas”. 51. After the Persian Wars (and even before it).

biographers. 349 Thucydides wrote that. however. while also sometimes demeaning its politics and way of life. 350 Ibid. burned the dockyard of the Lacedaemonians [Gytheum]…”. If they looked at Athens. yet it sustained no walls or fortifications. Spartan Reflections. as described by Stephen Scully. 1. 1. and romantics into that of a radically unique state unlike any other in Greece and often in seeming contradiction to fundamental laws of human behavior. at the very least. if later societies were to look at Sparta in order to discover how powerful it was.. 26: Cartledge mentions that F. The physical aspects of a polis or lack thereof.108: “And the Athenians…sailed round the Peloponnesus. It did. they would say that it was a meager and weak city. Sparta did maintain certain ideals that generated a certain equilibrium.” 348 But was the image of Sparta clouded in bias or was it descriptive of real conditions? Like the creation of the polis. there is no one correct answer. maintain a disconnected harbor. devoid of large building projects. 90 .Mirage’. 349 Thucydides. See section “Balance” for further information. it would be seem more powerful than it actually was because of its grandiose physical characteristics. are very important entities of the early development of the polis. Sparta’s early development was not unlike other poleis. 350 But appearances can be deceiving. While Thucydides’ statement might seem to refute my argument (that a polis does maintain physical structures in order to create a sense of balance for its citizenry). 347 Cartledge. historians. however. 348 Kennell. 347 As Nigel Kennell states. however. looking back through history as Thucydides suggests. 9. Harbors. Ollier (1933-1943) first coined the term ‘le mirage spartiate’. can. Even though ancient and modern theorists alike have glorified the austerity and military prowess of Sparta. Ancient authors constantly define Sparta as a polis. “The image of the historical city gradually became transformed through the work of philosophers. aid in describing what a society was like and how it was structured.10. it actually confirms it because.

the Spartans forcefully unified the areas of the Peloponnese under their rule and were able. for the most part. Their coinage. by maintaining relationships with other Greek cities in the Peloponnese either by subjugation or through alliances. were traditional.A. Sparta was normally seen as an Plutarch. 353 For hundreds of years. Lycurgus 9. 108-117. The Greek City States. although other poleis described Sparta as brutal and even “backwards”. 2005). see Starr. Austin & Vidal-Naquet. Austin & Vidal-Naquet. Talbert. Starr maintains that coinage was a consequence and not an instigator to the beginning of the polis. For this reason. Spartan laws. to create their society using a “virtual” wall. 49. and only a very few early laws were ever written down. trans. καὶ οὐ πλίνθοις ἐστεφάνωται).”. At the risk of sounding selfcontradictory. For more information on this subject. Lives. 37-38. a later indicator of a central authority. Lycurgus 19: “A city cannot be unfortified if it is ringed with brave men and not bricks (οὐκ ἂν εἴη ἀτείχιστος πόλις ἅτις ἄνδρεσσι. 56-57: “The invention and spread of coinage would have to be placed in the framework of the development of social relations and the definitions of values…when laws were codified and published in order to remove them from arbitrary interpretation. 57: “The absence of small denominations in the coinage of many cities implies that the invention of coinage did not aim initially at facilitating local trade…and long distance trade need not have been one of the factors in the creation of coinage [with the exception of Athens]. while I realize that coinage is an important symbol of centralized leadership and a civic emblem. possibly 100-200 years after the first foundations of the polis. Contrary to the general political statement that written laws created a stable basis for a harmonious society. while different by definition. Sparta and Lakonia. 351 With these tactics.These differences from other poleis. 353 Cartledge. The Economic and Social Growth of Early Greece. with external forces quelled. “Greek” coinage began around 600 in Aegina. whatever creates and facilitates polis development makes the polis. I pose (as Plutarch did) that the Spartans did not need walls because they perfected hoplite tactics in which soldiers linked their shields together and made a movable wall. was made of iron and was seen as worthless by other city-states that relied upon silver and gold to guarantee currency. 351 91 . Physical structures themselves do not necessarily typify the polis. I shall not discuss it further.”. Richard J. can also yield similarities. Rhodes. 352 Scholars reported them as maintaining good laws and a stable rule through a communal society for over 400 years.” 352 Plutarch (2005). oral laws. Plutarch: On Sparta (London: Penguin Books.

such as Ithaca.isolationist society. the goals of Sparta were similar to. Sparta’s citizenry and even its women were given more freedom in the state than any other city in Greece. 5. The terrain itself is difficult to traverse. In the East and South. As stated in earlier chapters. and therefore communication was easiest by sea. was nearly always in contention with Sparta’s neighbor Argos. Laconia is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. however. a self-governing assembly. both poleis vying for control of and around the Peloponnese. while its character might be completely different from other poleis. but the region in which it is situated. The northern boundary-line.. a single road was used to connect Sparta and Gytheum and this 354 Ibid.” 354 While the boundaries of Laconia are somewhat fluid geographically. The territory which Sparta controlled varied depending upon the time period discussed. 92 . and since Laconia’s frontiers were not fixed until after the Battle of Champions in 545 BCE. a stable society. Cartledge’s definition of Laconian boundaries seems to be the most definite while also the most constructive. Taygetos. if not the same as. Sparta used Gytheum in southern Laconia as a disconnected port which did not support its own city-state. dividing Laconia from Messenia. most of which do not denote the city of Sparta proper. and also by Messenia and other plains in the West. Even before the sixth century. Because of its laws. Because of Laconia’s difficult terrain. many inland poleis had disconnected harbors. because it was in this area that the Spartans “experimented with the system whose essentials they later transferred to Messenia. Therefore. Paul Cartledge designates Sparta’s territory as the area east of Mt. others: to have good laws. Laconia. and to maintain a defense of and for its citizenry. This fact brought Spartan and Argive interests into conflict frequently. Sparta has had many names over the centuries.

The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece (New York: First Vintage Books. not only because it is not substantiated in Homeric texts but also because it is an argument e silentio. The Spartans (London: Thames & Hudson. 356 If one were to characterize Sparta as completely different from other poleis. I would have to disagree specifically because of this point.” but unification was nevertheless achieved. it is surprisingly similar to Athens in this respect. Cartledge.F.connection allowed for sea access. Forrest states that the Eurotas valley was united into one kingdom by the time of the Trojan War. Even with northern and western border disputes. Fitzhardinge. 359 Cartledge. 2003). Though Sparta was “strange” in its organization. He even goes so far as to say that Sparta “had not been of any importance” during the Bronze Age L. 357 G. Not unlike its overall history in other periods. 357 It is. therefore. however. Huxley. Sparta and Lakonia. Laconian isolation. The conquest and pacification of the region to promote increased and more beneficial communications was paramount. 27. Early Sparta (London: Faber and Faber. 1980). 24. 13. is unclear. Fitzhardinge. 358 Forrest. 22. Athens also maintained a disconnected port. though the Piraeus was located closer to Athens than Gytheum was to Sparta. 358 Cartledge asserts that Laconia was probably divided into princedoms because of the lack of archaeological evidence. 13. Sparta’s Mycenaean period. enabled the populace to create a well-ordered society in an early period. 359 One should be cautious of this theory. while perhaps not most convenient in terms of communications.L. 355 Cartledge states that the terrain “militated against the political unification of the area. 356 355 93 . necessary to investigate Laconia’s early development in order to further discuss Sparta’s unification and polis creation. 23. 1962). situated in the Late Hellenic (LH) period.

demonstrating a lack of continuity. high-density settlement pattern in the thirteenth century BCE. however..because of this same lack of evidence. Cartledge. 360 This again seems to be overreaching because Menelaus. 28. in turn. Some sites yield such a small amount of LH III pottery that they were probably of little importance. 361 Actual settlements decreased but foreign trade increased. This indicates a new. Sparta and Lakonia. Second. because the same could be said for any period that scholars have trouble defining.” 363 The settlement pattern drastically changes in the LH IIIC period (Late eleventh century) as the 360 361 Ibid. and. 58. 362 Ibid. most definitely held important roles in cult according to archaeological remains. Cartledge states that this decrease is in direct relation to not finding enough pottery from the period and does not indicate any kind of social change. however. 9. 1100/1050 BCE. 36. but drought followed by famine was most likely a primary cause. in which settlements were “regularly spaced at intervals of five kilometers so as to exploit the adjacent terrain with maximum efficiency. Towards the end of the LH period. First. sites begin to depopulate and are not resettled until much later. illustrated by trade goods in shaft graves. however. 363 Ibid.. from this point on. the Spartan Basin will be the centre of Laconian society. the lands associated with them had important roles in myth if nothing else.. as well as Helen. there was a large depopulation of the region. At the end of the Mycenaean Age. 94 . What lead to this depopulation is a point of contention among classicists. 362 I am cautious about accepting this view. king of Sparta and one of the main protagonists in the Iliad. Spartan culture will become just as progressive as other areas in the Peloponnese.

Kennell. some of these instruments such as certain sword types were used by the Mycenaeans before the invasions.” For more archaeological discussion of Amyklai. 305-307: Snodgrass indicates that though there were certain warfare instruments that were “closely connected with the destruction of the Mycenaean palaces”. which will eventually become the fifth oba of Sparta. left no real material record of their society and were therefore either Mycenaeans themselves or people who had already attained Mycenaean goods. 364 Ibid. Starr. 368 While this remains a viable theory. Because of the “intensification of settlement.. 367 Snodgrass. Fitzhardinge. 91-99. however. 62. Individual and Community. Thomas & Conant. Thomas & Conant. Snodgrass.” 366 Cartledge recognizes that this theory is insufficient because it does not explain the destruction of political centers. 95 . 19: ‘Handmade Burnished Ware’ either resembled pottery from the Balkans or was produced “by survivors of a disaster who were suddenly forced through circumstances to produce their own pottery”. largescale pasturage and expansion of overseas trade during LH IIIB had led to extensive forest-clearance and the exhaustion of marginal land…[which] had a critically deleterious effect on the vegetation climax. some vague memory of the sanctity of the place survived. 62.number of inhabited sites decrease by 62. Snodgrass. 368 Cartledge. 24. 367 These “invaders”. 366 Cartledge. those of LH IIIC are almost nonexistent. 12: “…the most economical explanation of the collapse…still remains an invasion led by Dorian-speaking peoples”. What is perhaps more peculiar is that evidence of new cultural institutions does not directly follow these destructions. Sparta and Lakonia.315). perhaps these destructions can be likened to some kind of political upheaval between a ruling class and its subjects. Snodgrass also relates that a Dorian identification with cist graves as a new burial practice is too “loose” an assumption (p. 130-131. Sparta and Lakonia. 22. described as Heraklids and Dorians. if these invaders were in fact Mycenaean. increases in size. see Snodgrass. 364 Fitzhardinge states that the cult near Amyklai remained active but the area around Amyklai “was virtually without people and certainly without any organized community” for nearly two centuries. 395: “…there is no ceramic continuity between the Mycenaean and the Protogeometic…[though] in the ninth and eighth century.5%. while Amyklai. 61. 24: “…LH IIIB [pot] sherds are plentiful. 311. Pettersson. 365 Cartledge. makes a very good argument for deforestation leading to depopulation. who in some places attempted to restore their old way of life. 26: All signs point to the ‘squatters’ on the former palace sites being Mycenaeans themselves.” 365 Fitzhadinge.

370 Regardless of which theory holds more weight.” Thomas states that the balance between the ‘peasantry’ and the administrators who had control over the walled areas of Mycenae was paramount. however. is still viable. that were under Mycenaean control. having evolved earlier from eastern Greece. For more information concerning a failed invasion attempt resulting in a retreat. Thomas and Conant’s’ “top-heavy” theory seems plausible. 26. 22-23. as Snodgrass discusses. it does not define the overall depopulation or its consequences. 24: “…the maintenance of an extensive mechanism of management. by “Miss Sandars in discussion of Desborough’s book”. and therefore the theory set forth by Cartledge. illustrating the effects of overextending resources. and that “no warrior-elite crushed an earlier population and established at one blow a Dorian Sparta as a mistress of an enslaved Laconia. and possibly a standing army would have rendered the political structure top-heavy and the lines of communication sclerotic. 371 Forrest. meaning that these migrations could have truly been invaders from northern Greece and not people who were already living there. Snodgrass.C. see Snodgrass. or the vast majority of them. Robert Drews. 33-96. 371 Kennell. There were areas all over Greece. 1200 B. that the migrants had access to Mycenaean goods. moved on”. 26. The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. that had greater links to the West or northwest. 369 While this theory does essentially agree with a Dorian invasion. these population movements and depopulations would have greatly hindered “ordered society”. 311-313. This balance was unhinged when labor on the walls was no longer needed or crop production was at a low. The invaders of 1200. stating that there was a new type of pottery (Protogeometric). 312-313: This theory was first proposed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press. see Thomas & Conant. 1993). the North included. a large royal palace. Forrest seems to agree with the original theory of a Dorian invasion but states that there was no Dorian settlement in Sparta or in the region. 20-26 and Drews. For more information on dating the Dorian invasions or historical inconsistencies. 370 Thomas & Conant. but it relies primarily on anthropological and theoretical evidence from later periods.Fitzhardinge counters this argument. 369 96 . as Cartledge stated.

was most likely a continuation of a Bronze Age cult. 375 Kennell. The Dorian cult of Hyakinthos. 375 Lack of 372 373 Kennell. stating that they were semi-nomadic warriors. Ancient Greece. “It is quite possible that the stories of the Heraklids and Dorians were developed independently in the Argolid and in Laconia respectively before being adopted and combined by peoples throughout the Peloponnese who adapted them to their own needs. 23. together with the Hyakinthia month. Doric-speaking peoples who were significantly different from the Mycenaeans in language and pottery styles. 15. 373 There were. Apollo Hyakinthos is a Dorian god and. these Doricspeaking peoples were already diffused throughout Laconia and could have waged a civil war against their Mycenaean lords. 31. ancient and modern. 40-41: “Dorianization refers. perhaps giving more credence to subjective theories than one would hope. Mythically. Kennell states. but an attempt of the new ruling class to gain legitimacy.” 372 Huxley describes the Dorians in definite terms. 31: “Words with the suffix -nth. if the theory related above is correct. and. 96. apart from common dialect. 374 Kennell. however. 374 Though belonging to a pre-Dorian hegemony. Pettersson. the “Dorians” were led by the offspring of Heracles. 14. Huxley. But. Cartledge.” The difference between Dorians 97 . who were expelled from the Peloponnese generations before. though supported by literary evidence as starting in 668 BCE. as many historians. the myth of the returning Heraklids was not the reflection of historical events. maintained tribal assemblies and were “illsuited to settle agriculture or centralized palace government”. to the sharing of certain institutional arrangements (three identically named pseudo-kinship ‘tribes’) and religious customs (an annual festival in honor of Apollo known as the Carneia). relate.are considered remnants of a pre-Greek linguistic substratum dating back as far as the early Bronze Age which has recently and convincingly been identified as coming from Anatolia”. “[is] found widely and almost exclusively in Dorian cities”.Who the Dorians actually were or if they were these “invaders” at all is tentative.

Perioikoi. and. 117: Pettersson also states that citizens had to participate in state cults as well. the symbolism of which expressed the basic pattern of a rite of passage. making them integral to the “Spartan-mechanism”. liminality and aggregation.pottery continuation from LH IIIC to Laconian proto-geometric pottery styles also suggests that there was a lack of continuation in Mycenaean civilization. in doing so. piety. 14: To become a full Spartan citizen (homoioi). the Gymnopaidiai and the Karneia. which would have been large and expensive affairs. 379 Pettersson. 79. as Cartledge relates. 376 Later this cult. further joining together an older. and pay a certain amount of their household production (referring to the production of wheat) to the syssition. marriage and warfare.. 122: “The celebration of the Gymnopaidai became a means of suppressing the regional differences between the villages in order to stress the homogeneity of the body of citizens.” 380 Ibid. 73. 105. the Spartiate would have to successfully complete the Agoge. 381 that settled throughout Greece was a difference. created another type of balance between different socio-economic groups and more aristocratic elements of the state. 381 Refer to section “Sanctuaries and Boundaries” for more information on Spartan cult. it is only applicable for this argument to mention the homoioi in the Spartan political hierarchy. 377 Pettersson. Even though donor names would be announced. even more disconcerting. perhaps used as one of Sparta’s many “initiation rituals”. Pettersson. 377 These public festivals in later periods. these feasts would have been served in the mess halls. Marriage also seems like a prerequisite for citizenship though we mostly hear of punishments of those who are not married. be elected to a syssition. and their cult festivals would promote unity. and. Spartan cults both generated and facilitated Spartan society. a lack of occupation (in general) or external communication. the basis for Spartan society. 98 . in patron gods or goddesses. chose Hera while Sparta chose Athena and Messene chose Artemis. 77: “…the three cults constituted a coherent whole. 376 Cartledge. “mobilizing the whole population”. 75.” 378 Cartledge. with the periods of separation. and Helots). as meat would have been served to all in attendance. 74-75. Spartan Reflections. individual kleos with a newer. Sparta and Lakonia. would be the basis for the cult worship towards Apollo in Sparta. Argos. 380 In essence. along with two others. 379 The social elite facilitated these feasts. polis-based loyalty. created a common identity among all levels of the citizenry (Homoioi 378 [Spartans]. 15-16: The names of donors at the Hyakinthia would be announced during the aiklon or “second meal”. for example. While the Spartan citizenry is a fascinating topic.

This new polis.M. Jones (I think correctly) states on logical grounds that it was more likely that the Spartans “first reduced their immediate neighbors in the valley of the Eurotas to serfdom. therefore. 382 It was during the late eighth century BCE that Dorian Sparta began to assert its dominance over other settlements. it was firmly established by 775 BCE. 99 . While many ancient sources differ on the amount of space that Sparta subjugated in their growing empire. Sparta and Lakonia. while some were forced under Sparta’s dominion through military submission. but would be based on internal security for which every free inhabitant. though two centuries earlier. was not based on the usual balance between socio-economic classes as was the case in other areas.” 384 Herodotus. Cartledge. was liable. Purvis. 384 They were taken from the Agiads. Like Athens. they were not homoioi like other Spartan citizens. and then extended their political sway over the mountains to the East & West.The settlements that survived the conquests. 86. individual Laconian settlements of perioikic status (free-dweller) submitted to Spartan rule via political agreements. the elder royal house. While there is some discrepancy about when the stratification of the Spartan state occurred. Kennell states that they “were not really even members of the polis itself. both Spartan and perioikos. would have needed a strong central government. 30. after the uprising in the LH period and the political and military assimilation of other communities. logically. 6. situated “some distance from one another”. trans. 383 Pausanias provides the best description of Spartan dominance in this period (Book 3 of his Description of Greece) which is potentially suspect testimony. A. destruction and famine became nucleated settlements. Herodotus wrote on the specific powers of the Spartan kings. which was not firmly established until after the First Messenian War. Since the kings did not go through the agoge. Nevertheless. and the Eurypontids.52-58.” maintaining some kind of 382 383 Kennell.H. the Spartan state expanded to incorporate a larger area and.

but that is merely speculation. each boasting loyalty to one of the two royal houses. Taras at the very least. also adopted a new form of pottery. specifically depicting horses. dating to around 750 BCE. it maintained a land-locked society and would. is typical of earlier societies that are focused primarily with mixed farming. 385 After the post-Mycenaean age. 57: Cartledge theorizes that the reason Sparta never actually built a wall around their territory was because doing so would have excluded Amyklai. 390 This could signify a change in political sentiments which began around 750. This type of handmade terracotta. 387 Cartledge. which was gradually becoming commonplace. 389 A terracotta relief of a woman’s head in the Daedalic style. Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 78: The ethnos or tribal elements were just transforming into a polis or urban center. but they were also the high priests of Zeus Ouranios and Zeus Lacedaemon. 95. Before Dorian Sparta became one polis. 45.. 109. While the Spartan state was becoming more powerful. was also found on the Spartan acropolis. 389 Fitzhardinge. it was four separate villages with tribal allegiances. relating to Corinthian wares but retaining its own nuances. 388 Sparta. therefore not consider colonization as a feasible solution to alleviate 385 386 Kennell. the Agiads led Pitana and Mesoa while the Eurypontids led Limnai and Kynosoura. The Spartans. not only were they exempt from the agoge. 388 Forrest. Spartan kings. the fifth oba. Though Sparta did send out colonies. 32. the Geometric style. 100 . however. Cartledge. 390 Ibid. 387 While Amyklai. Pettersson. many areas dissolved the kingship and transferred the king’s power to other governmental entities. 386 The making of Sparta then was cooperation among all four autonomous villages. maintained a special status. was definitely used as a cult area at the very least.“exalted status”. 47. Forrest places Amyklai’s incorporation into Sparta proper around 750 BCE. Sparta and Lakonia. 90. its citizenry was becoming more restless. cattle and men. in this century.

40-41. in effect. the kosmoi absorbed its military function. The adoption (or existence at all) of this office suggests an earlier-discussed association with the mother-polis. 28: “By the middle of the eighth century.H. 1967). Kennell. 103. the Spartans endorsed the office of the ephorate in order to administer law in the city proper. much like the archons in Athens. This war increased the amount of available land and riches. such as Taras. which. Drews. 392 The Menelaion was built most likely to retain Achaean legitimacy over the southern Peloponnese. towards Messenia as a whole. 394 Huxley. 394 It logically follows then that. Sparta (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. the ephorate would assume rule at A. see Pettersson. Jones painstakingly listed all of Sparta’s alleged colonies and the corresponding ancient historians that discuss them.M.”. Jones. At the beginning of this section I mentioned that the Laconian territory ended at the Taygetos Mountains. The Greek City States. 1112. Rhodes. Ephors were constant in most Doric states. The Spartans. with the king(s) frequently away at war. Cartledge. as with most Spartan political offices. the ephorate is likened to the Kosmoi in Crete. 92-94. 24. but also to express the theme of a “veneration of the heroes of the past”. 28: “… ‘origin stories’ [were] not only [used] to construct a viable past but to reinforce contemporary social and political relationships. 105. in turn. 391 101 . the First Messenian War. 392 Ibid. the new Spartans felt confident enough to try to spread their influence and control further south in Laconia…transforming Therapne into a major cult-centre devoted to Menelaus…”. retained the office. In actuality. as well as an overall relationship with Doric-speaking peoples. The First Messenian War signaled Spartan expansion into the Taygetos valley in the East. 393 During the First Messenian War.political pressures except in the most extreme instances. 391 The solution to this problem was. See A. while the kings were leading the army in Messenia. 393 Cartledge. and even Spartan colonies. For more theories on the Menelaion. 39.H. Sparta and Lakonia. When the monarchy was abolished in Crete.. created publicly-built temples and encouraged specially-crafted votive offerings.M. in which the Spartans captured a significant amount of territory that was then redistributed.

396 C. 57. 397 Also in this time period. Spartan Law (Edinburgh: Scottish Classical Studies. was not to propose substantive laws but merely to preserve the status quo between socio-economic classes. Sparta adopted hoplite tactics. 48. ξυνὸν δ' ἐσθλὸν τοῦτο πόληί τε παντί τε δήμῳ). that Tyrtaeus might have been a “full” Spartan because of his rank as a Spartan general and that Tyrtaeus himself was the “very voice of this [hoplite] class” who “speaks with authority” which was “improbable for a foreigner”. 398 marching “shoulder to shoulder (Fr. subjugated the whole of Messenia. Bowra states. 102 . MacDowell. 8. as explained in earlier sections. 44. Bowra. social unrest stressed the Spartan state. This group was also able to propose laws to the Gerousia (Senate). 399 Ibid. ἀλλήλοισι μένοντες)” to “save the people (Fr. infringing on a monarch’s role as judge or legislator.M. 9. 40-41: Tyrtaeus could have been an Athenian who had Spartan citizenship. Possibly the best source for this time period is the poet Tyrtaeus. 395 D.home in their stead. marking a major shift from individual Homeric virtues to collective concerns. a new Spartan “state” began to form.Heffer & Sons LTD. one primarily concerned with courage and honor for the polis (Fr.. These non-substantive or procedural laws can be seen later in this section during the discussion of the Great Rhetra. 8.M. 6-8. 398 Bowra. 397 See Appendix B for Greek. 395 The Second Messenian War. however. 399 His poetry also denotes a new morality in Sparta. Rhodes. however. The Greek City States. Early Greek Elegists (Cambridge: W. Tyrtaeus mentions in a later fragment that soldiers “advance fenced behind hollow shields”. σαοῦσι δὲ λαὸν ὀπίσσω)”. a “phalanx”. During this time. Tyrtaeus is describing. 396 His poem Eunomia (Fr. a desperate attempt for the Messenians to regain their freedom. The role of early leaders as a judge. in some sense. While Tyrtaeus never uses the term “phalanx” in his poetry. 1986). elevating Sparta to the leading power in the lower Peloponnese. and Bowra indicates that there is some speculation over whether the phalanx truly existed in this period.3) discussed the new Spartan political system. 1960). With this shift and the consolidation of the Spartancontrolled lands.. who wrote about the eunomia and societal influences in Sparta during the second half of the seventh century.

103 . They had in fact no foreign policy of their own. meaning that these traveling Greeks had to force their way onto the land. mentioned above. 84: “…these communities [perioikoi] enjoyed some degree of local autonomy.” 403 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. 82. 35. Ibid.” 402 These were still dependent poleis which maintained internal hegemony but adhered to Spartan foreign policy decisions. either the offspring of unmarried Spartan women or Spartan citizens who did not fight in the First Messenian War. 91. but were entirely subordinate to the government of Sparta for war and the whole field of foreign policy. but not to enable the development of large regional centers. The Iapygians. Jones. 401 Sparta now maintained the largest territory in all Greece. Austin & Vidal-Naquet.. perhaps. were “fertile enough to produce sufficient food for their inhabitants to survive. Perioikic settlements. and the conquest of Messenia.Taras. 33. however. sent to alleviate possible conflict. 400 With Taras and other lands established as lands for “undesirables”.” 404 Kennell. 402 Ibid. but managed their internal affairs. 404 Scholars originally thought that perioikoi sustained merchant and artistic aspects of Spartan society.. 403 Most only maintained 400-600 inhabitants on farmlands around an “urban center containing communal cult sites that also functioned as a local market…under the control of a small. the Spartans did not need to send out more colonies as other poleis did. already occupied Taras. but it does maintain one of the best natural harbors in southern Italy. landed elite”. was established in 706 BCE by the Partheniai. 42: Kennell states that the population of Lakonia was constant because there was no actual evidence that supported an abundance of Spartan population for the settling of Messenia. 8: “They paid rent for certain lands belonging to the Spartan kings in their territories and their citizens had to serve in the Spartan army. where they firmly established near 700 BCE according to pottery evidence. scattered throughout the Spartan-controlled region. The site of Taras itself was not the original destination of the Partheniai. This group represented a potential social revolution among the citizen body and was. yet pottery and other art forms were well established before the seventh century BCE (illustrated by votive finds at the sanctuary of 400 401 Kennell.

406 The tripartite hierarchy of Spartans. 85: perioikoi “were not bound by the aristocratic values of the Spartan warriors. like perioikoi. I do not wish to underplay the role that they had in the Spartan state. The Messenians became the helots that allowed the Spartan state to operate. a polis that believed itself to be based on eunomia. This fear was so deep-seated in Spartan minds that the Spartans even created a secret police. 104 . but Austin and Vidal-Naquet widen this scope economically. Ltd. Messenia represented fear.Artemis Orthia). it represented agricultural wealth because of its fertility. They could therefore engage in all those economic activities which the Spartans rejected”. Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. 406 Forrest. Though I have discussed the Messenians briefly so far in this section. With the advent of this system. First. probably “tended to their own affairs” because of the low population of Spartans and therefore a loose Messenian administration. 2000). Messenians. when it was conquered. and the Spartans. 113-149. 407 Sparta. Second. Messenia became an occupied territory. the Crypteia. perioikoi and helots was complete. which murdered those whom they thought to be 405 Austin & Vidal-Naquet. were heavily outnumbered by their captives. In effect. 405 According to Forrest. 38. alleviating political pressures at and around Sparta and providing greater food production. and it also allowed them to focus solely on warfare. it represented economic and therefore political stability because. used this fear of upheaval to fuel a military state and culture whose sole purpose was to protect Spartan interests in and around the Eurotas river valley. in terms of population.. creating a balance between different peoples while also creating a link between the centralized Spartan government and people controlled by Sparta. 407 For more information of helots see Stephen Hodkinson. As historians normally posit. Third and most importantly. Sparta maintained hegemony through its region and into others. Messenia represented three things. its lands were divided among Spartan citizens. the primary duty of the perioikoi was to provide Spartans with weapons.

Ironically.” 412 The Great Rhetra is a very difficult document to date. probably because the Spartans had yet to acquire hoplite tactics. After Argos destroyed Asine for aiding the Spartans in raiding the Argolid. indicates it is an extract from a longer text. The Spartans. Sparta could not function. Plutarch (2005). Ancient Greece. according to Plutarch). 32. 410 The Great Rhetra itself is one of the most difficult ancient Greek texts to translate. which. Since Sparta’s need for land was alleviated. illustrating the political unification they must have had in Messenia. 411 The items in the Great Rhetra are as follows (as translated by Paul Cartledge and Nigel Kennell): 412 408 409 Cartledge. while the Argives had. then this document is not applicable. because of certain textual realities. 37. In the seventh century BCE. making its historicity equally problematic. illustrating a fundamental opposition between the two territories. and. a polis that boasted no written laws managed to maintain a rhetra explaining Spartan state function (at least. 105 . If it can only be dated to later sources such as Plutarch. 410 Cartledge. This resettlement does suppose Spartan supremacy in and around the area of resettlement. 71. Sparta focused its gaze north towards the disputed boundary between themselves and Argive-controlled land. the Spartans resettled the survivors in southern Messenia. economic prosperity and a centralized military state. after the Battle of Hysiai. the Argives defeated the Spartans at the Battle of Hysiai. 408 Without these things. agricultural stability. 409 In 669 BCE. “Sparta” of the Spartan Mirage was created. philologists deduce that it is actually an excerpt from a larger document. then it as a historical document is applicable to this discussion. 47: “The appearance of participles in the accusative case and infinitives in the main clauses show that the text is in indirect discourse. according to Pausanias. together with the absence of any explicit subject. 411 Kennell. This did not bode well for a state functioning on coercion and military tactics to maintain a balanced social equilibrium.“troublemaking Helots”. Forrest. If it does date to the seventh century.

tufts. Lycurgus. This is also called “Plutarch’s Rider”. “Perseus Digital Library. If these had existed before.perseus. 414 In the beginning of Sparta’s history after the “Dorian Invasion”. 413 More must be said of denotation of oba and tribe because the wording and actual meaning of this item is relevant. The Gerousia. Forrest. 4) “Season in and season out. 106 .” or divide the citizenry into tribes and obes.01. but the rhetra does guarantee a popular assembly. 2) “Tribe and Obe the citizens. 7) If the demos “speaks crookedly. they are to hold Apellai between Babyka and Knakion. Because of this act of legislation the demos gained moderate political recognition.” the Gerousia and kings have the power of veto (‘αἰ δὲ σκολιὰν ὁ δᾶμος ἕλοιτο. 3) Establish the Gerousia (Council) of 28 nobles and the 2 kings. Lycurgus 6. Lycurgus 6. because of the complexity of the document. 414 Huxley. 5) The Gerousia introduces proposals and “stands aloof. incorporating new citizens into one of the obes (five with Amyklai). similar to the Athenian council. seems to have enormous power illustrated by its probouleutic function. 413 Cartledge. The actual Greek is not parceled out as it is above. but. The obai correspond to the tribal arrangement of people and increase as the population Establish a cult of Syllanian Zeus and Athena (implying that they had not existed before). 24. An oba is descriptive of a kinship group and is usually evident in lands where Mycenaean ties are strong. and due to the nature of the document. This division distinguished the homoioi from other Perioikic peoples in Laconia.” 6) The demos votes on the issues which are introduced by the Gerousia. http://www. these cults would illustrate the power of the demos. I thought it best to organize it as such. This geographical association illustrates a Mycenaean survival. 42.” Tufts University. they would have been allied aristocratically and therefore. τοὺς πρεσβυγενέας καὶ ἀρχαγέτας ἀποστατῆρας ἦμεν…). Last Modified October 22. edit. Gregory R.0047%3Achapter%3D1%3As ection%3D1.” This item permanently fixes assembly times and takes away from the kings the power to call assemblies. 2010. For Greek see Plutarch. 66. Crane. The Spartans.

Whether Lycurgus existed or did not. a separate land redistribution document because of the redistribution of citizens into tribes and obai and because of past conflicts over the subject. 107 . 416 Forrest. 43. Cartledge also suggests that Lycurgus. 415 Pettersson. These theories presuppose that there was in fact a Lycurgus and that he changed the political structure of the citizenry to a more polis-based loyalty system. for example. encompassing all family and village units. of course. which was separated into various villages at this time. leaves many things out of its discussion. More importantly. 417 that. 416 To accomplish this there would have to be two criteria for citizenship: one from birth (tribes). The Spartan army. such as the office of the ephorate. 32-33. and one from proximity around Sparta (obai). Pettersson states. 417 Cartledge. introduced the “earliest system of Greek citizen self-government”. was first organized in three Dorian phylai (these phylai are normally present in other Dorian areas). the state became the enlarged and newest form of a reciprocal relationship. as Cartledge states. Forrest suggests that Lycurgus was the first to recognize the obe structure and gave it a greater part in political policy. was separated into six morai (though its organization was far more complex than that). when hoplite reforms were enacted because of more people were eligible for the citizenry. because of his reforms. In other words. The rhetra.Sparta. the obe structure must have been more inclusive to the common citizenry than exclusive since the rhetra created formal governmental offices and organized the entire citizenry regardless of class. loyalty and citizenship switched from a family relationship to a state-based relationship. there must have been. 116. The Spartans. because of his “lawmaker role”. This number became inconvenient. 415 The obai referred to the number of villages and the phylai to the population within them.

4. might have even become a superior profession in which potters shared similar interests of the upper class. bearing eastern scenes as well as specialized potters. 71. Without the helots under the yoke of Spartan subjugation. 419 He also mentions the discovery of a kiln inside the city proper. Fitzhardinge suggests that pottery. 100. 41. focuses on the cult aspects of Laconia rather than the historical phenomena. perhaps somewhat narrow-mindedly.” 418 While many things most likely led to Sparta’s “transformation”. 418 419 Cartledge. Sélincourt. 420 Ibid. the defeat at Hysiai allowed the Gerousia to limit the promises of the Great Rhetra to the hoplite class (common citizenry) using Plutarch’s Rider (Lycurgus 6.” and this was the point that “transformed Sparta into a special kind of Greek city. 2. number 4 in list above). which may explain this reference to pottery influencing “state” affairs. 421 Herodotus. 422 Pettersson. trans. Pottery finds also illustrate a new shift in the seventh century.Luckily for the aristocracy. but served to transmit a message of order and stability”.167. 422 Pettersson. They were able to do so. Ancient Greece. suggesting that “at least until the sixth century the craft [pottery] was carried on inside the town and so probably by or on behalf of Spartans in the narrow sense”. 108 . usually seen as a profession of perioikoi. Cartledge likened this transformation to a kind of voluntary “internal mutation. Fitzhardinge. 421 Pettersson mentions that Laconian pottery (specifically Protogeometic) “was not used in social contexts to express status. not only because Argos was victorious but because the helots. enslaved in the First Messenian War. were beginning to revolt. it is difficult to disagree with Cartledge’s description. 420 This contradicts Herodotus’ remarks that Lacedaemonians hated craftsmen. Sparta’s new military-based society would not work.

423 I do not necessarily disagree with the later part of Cartledge’s statement but. lethal military camp. regional sculpture stopped. 24. Herodotus often praises Spartan ‘law’.Cartledge calls Sparta a “repressive utopia. as a moving wall that not only protected 423 424 Cartledge. 109 . Sparta did rule and oppress many peoples but was always decent to its citizenry relative to the time period. it did not use “written” laws 425 (unless you accept Plutarch’s rhetra as what was accepted) nor did it use city walls for protection or as a balance between external influences. In essence. Instead.” whose community was completely focused on war for “self-preservation”. was not truly illustrated until after the Peloponnesian War when. communications. according to the above discussion. unlike other poleis. according to Plutarch’s Lycurgus. Sparta experienced drastic fluctuations in population. according to Fitzhardinge. might defend their state. Sparta used tradition and quick political action to alleviate pressures and provide laws. or extreme austerity. Archaeologically. In Sparta’s early history. Sparta began as many different villages and unified these villages into an effective. It remains an outlier because. Sparta was not oppressive to its own citizenry. 424 Contrary to general assumptions about Spartan isolationism. 88. and it used political and military means to unify the region. then. with the entirety of its citizenry. as Gagarin would argue. In effect. quite the contrary in fact. it divided its political functions between political and socio-economic classes. the Spartan polity functioned. Fitzhardinge. while also subjugating a whole group of people (helots) in order that the Spartans themselves. it sent colonies to alleviate internal pressures. yet there is a difference between written law and unwritten law. Sparta was concerned with sea trade. The Spartans. Lycurgus 13. and even craftsmanship. 425 Plutarch (2005). the “Spartan way of life”.

110 . but also absorbed the areas to the South. in turn creating a “balanced” polis.Laconia from external pressures in the North. West and East.

While modern scholars can look at new settlements to describe entities of poleis. concerning the periods before the Peloponnesian War. were now abandoned with the city itself in order to escape mass persecution and war.Chapter 4 Destruction and New Definitions The Archaic and Classical periods signified a new definition of the polis. Physical structures had not completely lost their significance. wrote The Histories. the destruction of a polis illustrated the specific physical structures that were emphasized in an earlier period. Herodotus is. the author that best illustrates the Archaic polis. focusing specifically on the creation and the abandoning 111 . the polis was not destroyed because the people would establish a new one elsewhere. though Thucydides better emphasizes the destruction of a polis. Walls. Herodotus and Thucydides both discuss these phenomena. in my opinion. After an initial balance had been established between external and internal influences. Herodotus and the Persian Wars Herodotus. When a citizenry abandoned its polis. While there are many writers that demonstrate entities of the polis. hailed as the first historian by ancient and modern scholars. the polis started to be associated with its citizenry rather than an idealized fulcrum of physical structures and procedural laws. however. but safety of the citizenry took precedence. which once illustrated safety and balance.

Walls were made around the city. The Ionians were a very powerful group in ancient Greek history.. The formation of one political center in a given territory. etc…) and a newer “citizen” polis. Ancient sources do account for Ionian migrations but none are definitive. however. “The name [Ionians] applies to all who originate from Athens and keep the festival of the Apaturia (except Ephesus). and the city itself was hierarchical in structure. was paramount in this circumstance. do at least agree that they have some foundation in Athens. trans. Ibid. His first act as king was to build a palace and a capital on top of a hill which was named Ecbatana. As I discussed in the earlier section entitled “Early Law. are normally colonizers from the Greek mainland and have a very loose alliance with each other.147. 1. 426 While urban unification. 1. a surrounding territory. defended by walls. among other things. I am more concerned with the ability of poleis to abandon land and physical structures while still remaining strong political units. While Herodotus wrote extensively on cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. did. Most.” 427 This festival acted as a religious bond between Athens 426 427 Herodotus. Law. 112 . According to Herodotus. the king’s territory occupying the two inner walls on top of the hill. comparable to the mainland Peloponnesian League.” Deioces became king of the Medes after holding the title of judge.98f. He relates (although he might not have intended to) a shift between the older “physical” polis (walls. This polis-evolution will reach its pinnacle in the late fifth century when Thucydides relates that men are the polis. however. The Ionians have their own poleis. Sélincourt.of poleis. urbanization did not necessarily lead to a polis structure. similar to those of many Greek settlements. facilitates this change.

another migratory race situated on the mainland. 431 Ibid. Ibid. he subjugated Thasos. Samians.141. were not persuaded by Darius’ threats and decided to defend their walls. abandon their old polis to establish new physical structures which illustrates the 428 429 Ibid.. which the Teians had recently vacated. in the same way the Athenians would before the Peloponnesian War. 430 Ibid. and ordered them to dismantle their fortifications and surrender their fleet. 1. however.. 429 As Darius expanded the empire. from a large Ionian polis. 113 . also conquered many cities in his expansion westward. Cyrus the Great subjugated many cities as his armies traveled further West. These citizens.101.46-48. Darius. After their defeat. when the whole of Ionia was threatened by a large force (in most cases by an Eastern entity). and for safety and function of the citizenry. possibly the most influential expansionist Persian king. had a similar practice with the Pentapolis at their temple named the Triopium. rather than being slaves to Persia. 430 The Eretrians. who inhabited some of the island of Euboea. 431 Physical structures under the threat of attack became less and less relevant for the continuity of a society.. the first of which was for all Ionians to travel to Sardinia and establish a city and the second to establish a centralized government from the island of Teos. abandoned their city to settle an area of Sicilian which was already inhabited by natives. 6.and other Ionian cities. 6. dedicated to Poseidon. Their alliance of twelve poleis met at a sanctuary called the Panionium. 428 The Dorians. A war was being waged in the area when they arrived and the Samians were fortunate enough to capture the city of Zancle when its inhabitants were unaware.22f. 6. the Ionians met at the Panionium to discuss their options of capitulation..

While the importance of original physical identity decreases. Some politicians thought this response related to the wooden Mycenaean wall surrounding the Acropolis. trans. Sélincourt.23. Herodotus. 432 Does destroying a polis destroy the citizenry’s identity? Does destroying political cohesion equate to the destruction of the polis? If a polis is. the requirement of a new definition to define what a polis is seems paramount. its citizenry. In 480/79. developing into the Classical period. by destroying the ability of a polis to protect its citizenry and possibly even the citizenry itself. then. the Athenians. under command of Themistocles. Aegina and 432 433 Thucydides. This method of illuminating important aspects of the polis by examining its destruction provides an invaluable division of important characteristics. “never before had so many cities been taken and left desolate. decided to abandon Athens because of the likelihood it would be destroyed by the Persian army.continuous necessity for a physical identity. 114 . a polis can be destroyed. Thucydides Thucydides wrote that. each side accepting alliances to further its own personal needs. before the Peloponnesian War. 1. as Thucydides states. 7. but Themistocles correctly translated its meaning as the Athenian navy. This decision was made after the interpretation of the Delphic Oracle’s response that the Athenians’ “wooden walls” would not fall. 433 The Athenians then proclaimed that all families in the city and in the countryside should move to Troezen.141-143. The rivalry between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians had been around for nearly a century.” and these “cities” are termed as “poleis”.

Salamis. 434 When Themistocles was trying to gain Peloponnesian support, a Corinthian told him that “he was a man without a city (ἀπόλι).” Themistocles replied, “So long as Athens had 200 warships in commission, she had a city and a land much stronger than theirs.” 435 This statement illustrates that having a navy or “wooden walls” corresponds to preserving power and the ability to begin or subjugate a city. Soon after the Athenian departure, the Persians entered and burned the city, including the Acropolis which was the embodiment of Athenian cult and hegemony. Later, the Persians were defeated in a naval battle at Salamis and were eventually expelled from Greece. Themistocles told the Athenians to rebuild the city walls as fast as possible, using any kind of stone, public or private, while he went to Sparta and delayed their delegation. The Spartans were fundamentally against any city having walls, possibly because Sparta itself, while a polis, was still configured as a village confederacy with no walls or because they were ineffective in siege warfare and having no walls would guarantee their dominance. They therefore sent an embassy to Athens to ask them not to rebuild their walls but to come with them on a campaign to pull down other cities’ walls so that no other foreign army might use them as a military base. 436 Using every citizen, the Athenians elevated the wall “to such a height as was absolutely necessary for defense,” and Themistocles, still at Sparta, relayed the information that “the city was now walled and therefore, in a position to protect its inhabitants.” 437 The personification of the polis in this situation, I believe, truly exemplifies a political community’s role as the primary defender of its citizens in the
434 435

Ibid., 8.41. Ibid., 8.61. 436 Thucydides, 1.90. 437 Ibid., 1.89f; Plutarch (1960), Themistocles 19: “No sooner were these great achievements behind him, than he immediately took in hand the rebuilding and fortification of Athens.”


Classical period. The significance of speed in constructing the wall illustrates the extreme importance a defending wall might have for a polis. Twenty years later, the Athenians finished the “Long Walls” that connected the Piraeus, Athens’ harbor, to the city. Now all aspects of the polis were solidified: a defending wall, procedural laws that protected its citizenry and a physical connection with the sea through the fortified harbor. After the Persian Wars ended in the early fifth century, former Persian-allied cities joined either the Athenians or the Spartans. 438 Before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431, some Athenian allies were becoming intolerant of Athenian bureaucracy and resented the tribute they had paid to the alliance. When they tried to leave the alliance, the Athenians forced them to surrender and changed their status to tributary states, dependent on Athenian naval power for protection. While the Peloponnesian allies did destroy city-states, it was the Athenians that made it into a common practice, which actually began before the war. When a polis capitulated, normally after a siege, the Athenians would first pull down its walls and induce them to pay tribute. One of the first casualties of the new Athenian resolve was Scyros, which the Athenians resettled with their own colonists after enslaving its people. 439 Thasos, a former ally of Athens, was besieged for three years and surrendered. The Athenians pulled down their walls, took their fleet and then seized their very lucrative mines. 440 In this situation, the walls were pulled down instead of resettling the territory with Athenian colonists. Why the sudden change? The distance from Athens most likely played a considerable role, but it could also be seen as a symbolic gesture. In taking away a city’s defenses, the Athenians took away the primary objective of a city-state, which was to
438 439

Ibid., 1.18. Thucydides, 1.98. 440 Ibid., 1.101.


protect its inhabitants. Making them dependent on Athenian military power for protection and Athenian law to settle disputes, the Thasians were assimilated into the Athenian Empire and, at least publicly and politically, ceased to maintain their communal identity. In 456 the Athenians won a land battle against the Boeotians at Oenophyta, which gave them control of the entire region of Boeotia. After the battle, the Athenians pulled down the walls of a powerful Boeotian city named Tanagra and took hostages from the aristocratic Opuntian Locrians to ensure peace. 441 In 455, the island of Aegina also capitulated to Athens, pulled down their walls, relinquished their fleet and became a tributary entity of the Empire. In 440, a major revolt of Ionian islands against the Athenians began. On the island of Samos, the Athenians made three counter walls to besiege the city while also blockading them by sea. This not only took away Samos’ access to their countryside but also made their harbor nearly irrelevant. The aspects of a polis that the Samians retained, since the walls were made equally useless by countersiege works, were laws, and laws could easily be overturned by angry political parties, depending upon the length of the siege. The Samians surrendered nine months later: their walls were pulled down, their fleet was relinquished, hostages were given to the Athenians and they promised to pay the Athenian cost of the siege. 442 In 431, Pericles, a prominent political leader of Athens, proposed that they should relinquish their countryside and take refuge in the city-proper in order to prepare for the Peloponnesian War and diffuse Spartan military power on land. 443 This proposal is not unlike the proposal made by Themistocles to abandon the city of Athens upon the Persian invasion of Attica. The difference is the aspects of the polis which were upheld. In the
441 442

Ibid., 1.108. Ibid., 1.117. 443 Ibid., 1.143.


was circumvented. persuaded all the Chalcidians to destroy all their cities and settle in one urban center at Olynthus. a functioning harbor. which is demonstrated in their communal resolve against the Persian threat and their fortification of the city. 446 Ibid. though allied with Athens. 1. however. retained their connection to the sea and their political identity.63. King of Macedon. one of Megara’s fundamental polis features. 445 In 432. which banned all Megarians from using Athenian ports. which either revolted or were forced out of neutrality. In Pericles’ proposal. taking away the role of the polis as a protector. 446 The city of Plataea was of great military importance to the Boeotian Confederacy.. in effect. Perdiccas. 1. The War itself focused on smaller city-states. The Athenians. were changed. Since Megara was situated on an isthmus that had very little arable land.67.second Persian War. Ibid. break colonial ties with Corinth and send hostages to Athens. if only temporarily. With the implementation of this decree.. an opposing political party in Plataea betrayed the city 444 445 Ibid. connecting them to the Pallene Isthmus. 444 When the Potidaeans were under siege by the Athenians on land and sea. In 431. taking away Athens’ hegemony over Attica and use of its farmland. The regional boundary lines.. the polis retained its primary role as “defender” and Athens preserved its connection to the sea and its laws.61. After the Athenians and Corcyraeans defeated the Corinthians in a large sea battle in 434. destroyed Megara’s economy and forced them into starvation. however. 118 . this decree. the Athenians ordered the Potidaeans to pull down their walls. the city of Athens was physically destroyed. Athens instituted the Megarian Decree. 1. which was the main source of Athenian wealth in Attica.

49f. The city itself was given to the Megarians after their expulsion by the Athenians from Megara. however. captured or chased out the invading Thebans.” intending to attack the Athenians. but the vote was overturned the next day and instead the Athenians pulled down their walls. 447 After a four-year siege by Thebes’ Peloponnesian allies. the Athenian assembly voted to execute every person in the city. History of the Peloponnesian War. the Peloponnesians razed the entire city to the ground and built a large inn for the sanctuary precinct of Hera. the Thebans at night. Books III & IV (Cambridge: Harvard University Press.1-6. Charles Foster Smith. The Theban army was told by the Plataeans that. the Plataeans broke their oath and killed all the captives.27-29. 3. took their fleet and killed 1000 of the antiAthenian party. if the Theban army ceased hostilities outside the walls and left the territory.68. 119 . the island of Lesbos. an aristocrat armed the “commoners. over 200 men inside were killed and the few women were sold into slavery. but the people of Plataea rose in defense of the city and either killed. 448 In 427. a debate ensued at Athens over the punishment of Mytilene. led by the city of Mytilene. Thucydides. At first. 3.. 1998). the Plataeans would return the captured Thebans to them. Plataea surrendered. revolted from the Athenian Empire. When Peloponnesian aid did not arrive.. 450 447 448 Ibid. 449 Ibid. but the commons turned on the aristocrats and persuaded them to surrender to the Athenian army.. Once the Theban army was out of Plataean territory. 3. 450 Ibid. Eventually. 449 Later. 2.

enslaved the women and children and resettled the town with 500 of their own colonists. it was difficult for the new group of colonists to completely shed their mothercity’s institutions or the expelled inhabitants’ customs (if they survived). raises difficult subjects. Fornara. 155f. was besieged by Athens. after the Sicilian Expedition and other disastrous events. 2006). a colony of the Lacedaemonians but an Athenian ally. Xenophon. the Melians refused to surrender and the Athenians started a seige. The theme of resettlement. right”. in terms of colonization. 2006). before and during the Peloponnesian War. is atypical because it did not give Corinth the normal rights a mother-city deserved. Charles W. A colony therefore. the Melians soon surrendered. wrote that. surrendered in 404 BCE to the Peloponnesian Allies. Being a small city-state. Charles Foster Smith. while the Corinthians and other allies wanted to destroy the Athenians completely. Athens. Thucydides’ successor.84ff. Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. as well as the philosophical problem of “might vs. 452 For more information on colonization see section “Colonization”. If a polis was resettled. History of the Peloponnesian War. the Spartans “would not enslave a Greek city which had done such great 451 Thucydides. the small island of Melos in the Cyclades. 120 . became an amalgamation of both the former and the latter. were the colonists a part of their original polis or a new polis? Corcyra. 451 Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue in Book 5 illustrates a complete destruction of a polis. 452 While a good deal of destruction can be attributed to the Athenian Empire during the Peloponnesian War. After speeches were made by both the Athenians and the Melians.In 416. Books V & VI (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. demonstrated in many cases. If an area was resettled. trans. and the Athenians killed all the men. 5.

In fact. “The Lacedaemonians desire peace. the Spartans subjugated the Athenians in the same manner in which they had subjugated their empire. Hellenica. 453 454 Xenophon. taking their fleet and having them be dependent on another political entity) were not considered “slavery” by the Spartans. for example. seize the Athenian fleet.” 454 Whether by poetic justice or mercy. most importantly. as well as submitting to Spartan military command while on campaign.” 453 They therefore resolved to pull down the Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus. trans. but they did have control over the Peloponnesian League. in which every member agreed to submit to have the same allies and enemies as the Spartans.2.19f. Rex Warner (London: Penguin Books. “slaves” of the Athenians after the Athenians resettled Melos with its own settlers? Reverting back to the example of Thasos.139. Does this statement mean that destroying a city equals slavery? Were the Melians. Thucydides. which the Athenians subjugated. 1. the final attempt at peace was made by the Lacedaemonians to Athens by stating.things for Greece at the time of her supreme danger. bind Athens to the Peloponnesian League through the foreign policy and military command of the Spartans. Sparta might not have called themselves an “empire” like the Athenians. recall the political refugees whom the Athenians had exiled and. then what was? Other states of the Peloponnesian League wanted to destroy Athens. and there will be peace if you [Athens] give the Hellenes their independence. 2. what the Spartans did to Athens was exactly what they said the Athenians were doing to other poleis. yet Sparta said they would not “enslave” another Greek state. 121 . If these acts (pulling down a city-state’s walls. 1966).

a factor which was not conducive to a balanced and efficient society. Internally. wealthier people implemented procedural laws which protected the status quo. was dominant through many early periods. the first unit of social organization.Chapter 5 Conclusions The polis is an extremely diverse and complex subject. The polis itself has Bronze Age roots and Archaic continuation. Almost from necessity. After the post-Mycenaean age. philologically. the oikos-system of government became unacceptable. Starting from the “beginning. The definition of a polis adheres to the way one chooses to approach it. levels of a polis. the polis emerged. illustrating its importance as a word as well as an idea. combining older oikos-archetypes with newer notions of incorporation into the state. The polis was only able to become fundamental to social life because it created equilibrium between internal and external influences.” as Aristotle did. In order to “keep the peace” between different socio-economic. or anthropologically. and dissecting formations of physical structures and political ideas will aid in defining this topic. The oikos. whether archaeologically. Leaders of large and influential families controlled most land and wealth. Physical 122 . when regional populations began to rise. as wells as tribal. however. had very little communication with the government under which they lived. especially seen through morphological models. from a very early period. people in areas all over Greece.

either sending out colonies or forcefully annexing surrounding territories in order to alleviate internal pressures and combine regional. the definition of the polis shifted from incorporation and balance through physical structures to the citizenry itself. specifically during the Peloponnesian War. as well as a statement of political cohesion within a territory. meaning something different in four different periods. Corinth. Herodotus had discussed this relating to the Archaic period and Classical periods. “were the polis”. Physical structures in the “Homeric” and Archaic periods provided a foundation on which to allow more people to participate in government. Thebes. and Sparta are different in later periods. It means different 123 . Is it a citadel? A large town? Is it an urban entity? Does it incorporate rural or even hinterlands? The polis is a physical entity while also a cultural value. their initial formations closely resemble such a process.structures. protected the polis from invaders while also creating a boundary between a polis-dominated territory and a neighbor’s territory. such as walls and extra-urban sanctuaries. social entities into a centralized unit. At the beginning of this paper. Physical structures were still important for characterizing the polis. which is evident through the destruction of poleis. however. poleis were starved for more land. as extra-urban sanctuaries also were the embodiment of a legitimate claim over an outlying territory.” according to Thucydides. The concept of the polis changed over time. but this definition of a polis was most prevalent in the Peloponnesian War. Religion played a larger role than this. it has a recurring theme in all these periods: balance. As populations increased. however. Even though Athens. By the Classical period. “Men. I said that I was trying to avoid defining the polis. however.

evolving from early social and physical structures. 124 .things in different time periods and in different regions. What can be applied generally to poleis is the theme of balance.

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ὅς μ᾽ ἐρέθῃσι φυλόπιδος κρυερῆς ἐπιβαινέμεν: ἀλλὰ σὺ θάρσος 15 10 5 455 Hymn to Ares. Last Modified October 22. http://www. ἔνθα σε πῶλοι ζαφλεγέες τριτάτης ὑπὲρ ἄντυγος αἰὲν ἔχουσι: κλῦθι. Crane. ἀντιβίοισι τύραννε.0137%3 Ahymn%3D8. βρισάρματε. βροτῶν ἐπίκουρε. καὶ ψυχῆς ἀπατηλὸν ὑπογνάμψαι φρεσὶν ὁρμήν. ἕρκος Ὀλύμπου. edit. ἀμόγητε. θυμοῦ αὖ μένος ὀξὺ κατισχέμεν. φέρασπι.perseus. δορισθενές. δικαιοτάτων ἀγὲ φωτῶν. καρτερόχειρ. 132 . “Perseus Digital Library. συναρωγὲ Θέμιστος. πυραυγέα κύκλον ἑλίσσων αἰθέρος ἑπταπόροις ἐνὶ τείρεσιν. δοτὴρ εὐθαρσέος ἥβης. Gregory R. Νίκης εὐπολέμοιο πάτερ. πρηὺ καταστίλβων σέλας ὑψόθεν ἐς βιότητα ἡμετέρην καὶ κάρτος ἀρήιον. χαλκοκορυστά. ὀβριμόθυμε.” Tufts University. χρυσεοπήληξ. ἠνορέης σκηπτοῦχε. ὥς κε δυναίμην σεύασθαι κακότητα πικρὴν ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῖο καρήνου.APPENDIX A Homeric Hymn 8: Hymn to Ares 455 Ἆρες ὑπερμενέτα. πολισσόε.

133 . μάκαρ.δός. εἰρήνης τε μένειν ἐν ἀπήμοσι θεσμοῖς δυσμενέων προφυγόντα μόθον Κῆράς τε βιαίους.

1960. 134 . ἔπειτα δὲ δημότας άνδρας εὐθείην ῥήτρας ἀνταμειβομένους· μυθεῖσθαί τε τὰ καλὰ καὶ ἔρδειν πάντα δίκαια.APPENDIX B Tyrtaeus’ Fragment 3: Eunomia Greek taken from Bowra. πρεσβυγενεῖς τε γέροντας. μηδέ τι βουλεύειν τῇδε πόλει σκολιόν· δήμου τε πλήθει νίκην καὶ κάρτος ἕπεσθαι. Ὧδε γὰρ ἀργυρότοξος ἄναξ ἑκάεργος Ἀπόλλων χρυσοκόμης ἔχρη πίονος ἐξ ἀδύτου· ἄρχειν μὲν βουλῇ θεοτιμήτους βασιλῆας. Φοῖβος γὰρ περὶ τῶν ὧδ' ἀνέφηνε πόλει. οἷσι μέλει Σπάρτης ἰσχερόεσσα πόλις.